By Steve Bittenbender
(Reuters) - A suburban Cincinnati man's zombie-themed Nativity scene has caused quite a stir in his neighborhood, with some considering it a holiday treat. But others see a nightmare before Christmas.
Responding to two anonymous complaints, officials in Ohio's Sycamore Township said on Tuesday they have ordered Jasen Dixon to take down his display by Friday because it violates local property maintenance codes.
Dixon, who manages a haunted attraction in Indiana, faces a $1,000 fine if he does not remove the 10-foot by 10-foot structure he built three weeks ago.
He said he made the models for the zombie Mary and three wise men and borrowed props to make the Joseph and Jesus zombie figures. The baby Jesus is pale with totally white eyes, while the other life-sized figures are partly skeletal.
Dixon said many people approve of the display, which is lit by red and green lights. A Facebook page he made for it has attracted 200 "likes." He said that at around 2 a.m. on Tuesday, he discovered three women in his front yard taking selfies with the display in the pouring rain.
“I never suspected it to be this big,” Dixon said.
Greg Bickford, the township administrator, said the citation has nothing to do with the content of the display, which he called "comical." Rather, the size and location are the issues, Bickford said.
“We’re complaint-driven,” Bickford said, when asked if other displays had been cited this season. “If we were to drive up and down every single street and try to find violations, we’d never get off a street.”
Dixon, who has lived in the neighborhood for 15 years and never received any other citations, was also cited for junk and debris on his property that he said was never an issue before. He said he is still considering what to do with the manger scene by the township’s Friday deadline, the day after Christmas.
“I haven’t decided," he said. "I don’t really know what’s going to happen.”
(Reporting by Steve Bittenbender in Louisville, Kentucky; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Will Dunham)