Resident defies Ohio deadline on 'Zombie Nativity'

By Dan Sewell, Associated Press | Posted - Dec. 30, 2014 at 3:01 p.m.


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CINCINNATI (AP) — A "Zombie Nativity" scene in a southwest Ohio suburb was still undead Tuesday, past the deadline to remove it.

Sycamore Township officials said last week they had received complaints about debris at the home and concluded that the display violated zoning rules on size and placement of yard structures. They sent resident Jasen Dixon two zoning violation notices and gave him until the day after Christmas to take it down.

Facing a fine and legal action, Dixon kept the display up. A Facebook page devoted to the scene urges support for "freedom of expression."

The township administrator, Greg Bickford, said Tuesday the owner will face fines of up to $250 a day. Officials say they're not anti-zombie, but pro-zoning rules.

"The property owner will be cited for failure to remove the structure," Bickford said via email. "Not the zombies, but the structure."

Dixon indicated he planned to take the display down, but not for forever. He has started an online crowdfunding effort to build an even better display next year — and to help cover township citations.

The scene has eerie figures including a demonic-looking creature sitting up in the manger where the baby Jesus would be in traditional Christmas nativities. There's a detached head with it in the manger, while another ghoulish figure holds a replica heart in its hand as a somber "Silent Night" plays in the background.

"We do live in a free country, don't we?" asked Judy Giese, who lives down the block from Dixon on Vorhees Lane (not related to "Friday the 13th" movie slasher Jason Voorhees). Auto paint and body shops line the other side of the road in the township nearly 15 miles northeast of Cincinnati.

Dixon manages a haunted house attraction and used figures from a Halloween display to create what he calls a holiday decoration.

Giese said she and her husband took down their own small nativity scene and lights after Christmas. She doesn't mind if Dixon expands his display, as long as it's not into her yard.

"It's different," she said, adding that it was quite a hit with guests at their Christmas party. "It's like being next to an amusement park."

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Contact the reporter at http://www.twitter.com/dansewell

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