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Ross Twp. Neighbor Dispute Over Christmas Decorations Getting Heated

ROSS TOWNSHIP (KDKA) -- It is more than your usual dispute between neighbors in Ross Township. In fact, it is a battle between brothers and the rest of the neighborhood.

People who live on Fairley Road say one of their neighbor's yards is an eyesore that is ruining their neighborhood.

"It's embarrassing to have friends over or bring new friends over," said Tom White, a neighbor.

"There's a Santa Claus urinating in the driveway, where he should put his car," Joanne Hebda, another neighbor, said.

KDKA's Bob Allen Reports:

Robert Ansell owns the house and his brother, William, lives there.

A judge has ordered them to remove the toys and Christmas decorations in the yard by May 29 or face a $3,000 fine. It's the culmination of a six-year feud that started over Christmas decorations.

"The neighbors didn't like my Christmas display, and the township took sides, and decided they were going to find whatever way possible to shut it down," said William Ansell.

Robert Ansell accuses the township of selective enforcement.

"They've got weeds, they've got building materials, they've got a shed falling down out back; and they're sitting here worrying about me, whether I have toys and Christmas decorations in my yard," said Ansell. "That ain't right."

Over the years, there have been court battles, lawsuits over parking, placement of mailboxes.

Ansell's yard used to look very different. His Christmas display was so spectacular that people drove from all around to check it out each December.

He collected money for the salvation Army and Children's Hospital.

We reported in 2005 when some neighbors complained about the traffic congestion on the street.

Five years later, his yard looked remarkably different. During a visit in 2010, KDKA found a plastic Santa with a cone on his head, the urinating Santa, and a plastic snowman that was being run over.

KDKA's David Highfield Reports:

William Ansell put up a sign calling neighbors liars and thieves. One sign, which has since been removed, was targeted toward White's late wife.

"My wife passed away a couple years ago and they put derogatory signs up about her death," said White.

"They all speak truth in that when you steal somebody's mailbox, I mean, you know, put a sign up calling them a thief," said Robert Ansell. "I'm just exercising my First Amendment right."

Neighbors took a photo of it, though Ansell denies putting an angel in his yard with a knife in her head after he was found guilty of harassment.

"There's a threatening sign on his door that says no trespassing or violators will be shot and killed," said Hebda. "There's a lot of tension here."

"Keeping poking the bear and the bear's going to come back and he's gonna bite you," William Ansell said.

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