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City bans man's 'Thriller' plans

UPI News Service, 10/05/2011 

Florida officials said they banned a man known for his Halloween displays from hosting a "Thriller" dance in his driveway because it would violate city codes.

Boca Raton officials said Rick Newman can still go forward with plans for robotic monsters, red-dyed fountains and light shows in his yard, but he will be fined $1,000 per violation if he goes ahead with plans to host neighborhood children dancing to the Michael Jackson classic in his driveway, The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post reported Wednesday.

The officials said the dancing and the e-mail fliers Newman sent out qualify the activity as commercial, which is not allowed in his residential neighborhood.

"Fundamentally, what he's doing is not customarily associated with residential use," Deputy City Manager George Brown said. "Performing live dance shows on the property and inviting people into the neighborhood via advertising qualify it as commercial activity."

Newman, who said it is too late to change the venue for the performances, which were scheduled for the last two weekends of the month, said he does not agree with the city. He said all donations received go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

"This isn't commercial. A yard sale would be more commercial than this," he said. "I don't make a penny off of it. In fact, it costs me a lot every year. All the money we get goes to sick and dying kids."

Newman said he is asking officials to reconsider the decision.

"It's just ridiculous," Newman said. "I think people will come out of the woodwork to see the show, and I hope they give to Make-A-Wish."

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