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City Hall doesn't appreciate my lights


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Well, the city has beaten me to the punch so to speak, I just picked up a registered letter from the city and it states (loosely translated -it is in french) that we are not allowed to raise money for a charity as it warrants a nuisance under a certain section of the city's laws - I am now about to contact the city to get this regulation and then I will consider whether or not I will be able to goahead with just the lights and just let the hospital know that I can not raise funds for them this year due to the city.

I am truly frustrated that my neighbor is so unbalanced, this is all because he doesn't like my landscaping and the city has approved it. He supposedly spends at least an hour a week at city hall complaining about me.Plus, everytime he sees me he scratched his head and gives me the finger (my 4 year old is more mature than this man). Thatis the worst he cancome up with as we have already had to send him a lawyers letter to have no contact with us. Sorry to vent but this harrassment from him - attacking Christmas lights - this guyneeds to be stopped.

Wish me luck as I try to figure out a way around this all as I have just finished purchasing 20, 000 lights and 6 more LORs.

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Have your wife or a friend video your neighbor several times doing this get as much documetaion that you can get .get a atturney and sue him for harassment This way you can get all the money for your show and pain and suffering

gregg

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If you haven’t done this already you might try this:

1) Go to city hall and ask them to show you the actual code that covers events like you're planning. Get a copy of it. You need to see what the local government is basing their decision on. Without it, you are going on verbal enforcement of the rule. You need to find out what how an “activity” is defined. You also need to find out what is permitted in residential areas.

2) If you have questions about the code, have a legal person review the document.

3) IF the city has been correct in their statements, then apply for the permit requesting a waiver.

4) IF the city is incorrect in their interpretation,

Build your case. Start by defining the problem. Sketch out what you'd do to correct it. Conduct research on the benefits of charity events. Talk to affected citizens and gather witnesses. Do as much of the legwork as possible. (This is where you contact everyone that received money/toys from you last year. Also contact anyone who might have donated money or toys to assist in your case. Prepare a statement showinghow all the money collected was distributed).

  • Find out when open meetings are held and go on the record. Ask other articulate coalition members to attend the meeting with you and to speak up. Also, if possible, schedule an appointment with the appropriate government officials for yourself and several others from your side. (Ask that someone representing the receiving organization to speak on your behalf i.e. the hospital administrator, families that received the toys etc.) Make sure that you invite the city officials to attend your display grand lighting ceremony and offer to have media available to cover the event. Have the mayor "throw the switch" to get things started. Ask thelocal governmentifthey would spend an hour helping collect toys and money for the needy. (Ihave never knowna politician who didn't want his picture in the paper at some community event).

  • Form alliances with influential officials inside and outside of your town. Next, ask to set up a meeting with the government official.

To be effective, you need to get your story out, over and over again. You need to do this to attract others who might want to do the same thing and to gather public support and political interest. It's essential that everyoneknows about your problem. Contact the media (radio/TV) and ask them to support your cause with a human interest story. Write a letter to the editor of the newspaper explaining the facts of the case. Ask them to run an article on fund raising and how effective it is. Contact local charities and ask them how difficult it is to meet their goals during the holiday without local community support. Ask them to join you at city hall. Is there someone in the goverment who is running for a position on the city council or the mayors office? Ask them fortheir support and pledge your support at election time.

Finally:

If you think the neighborhood might side with your cause, consider a questionnaire to be handed out (other than your problem neighbor). This way you can then judge the sentiment of the surrounding areas. Ask simple questions like “would you support a charity drive at my house during Christmas to help with the needs of the children at the localhospital?”

Good luck, I sure hope you win this one.

Darrel

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jgwood wrote:

Have your wife or a friend video your neighbor several times doing this get as much documetaion that you can get .get a atturney and sue him for harassment This way you can get all the money for your show and pain and suffering

gregg

Unfortunately, he only does this to me, the wife - all the yelling and the one attempted assault (which was reported to the police but no charges were laid because the police did not feel it would go very far) and the gestures are only done when my husband is not here. Also, my husband has gone back to doing his original job (being a pilot) in addition to us owning ourirrigation company and the neighbor seems to only do these things when my husband's company van is not here. Now that my husband is away more now I guess I will have to go on the offensive when it comes to the harassment especially because I do not want this to escalate. I figure I would have to keep a digital camera in my pocket if I were to want "proof".

Spoke again to the city today and they claim that I have been publicising my light show for this upcoming season (during the month of April) - I have no idea what they are talking about but, they have said thatI am not allowed to ask for donations - I can loosely translate the rule - It constitutes a nuisance and is prohibited to ask for donations by a child or person from persons on the roads, lanes, or citypublic places, no asking for charity door to door, unless one has authorization from the City Council. I explained to the city worker that sent me the letter that I did not know that there had been more press on us or the light show. I explained to him that I had already spoken to the mayor and he told me to write a letter in October asking for permission. So basically from what I understand, I have to go ahead and get city council to agree to me accepting donations, if I let that part go... I don't know if there is something else that they can come after me for.

I am going to spend some time at city hall tomorrow looking over this Rule No. 1405 - which regulates "nuisances". I am hoping that this is the only loop hole I can find that they could use against me.

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Christmas Angel wrote:

I am going to spend some time at city hall tomorrow looking over this Rule No. 1405 - which regulates "nuisances". I am hoping that this is the only loop hole I can find that they could use against me.

Have you talked to your attorney yet? That really should have been done months ago but if you haven't then now is the time.

TED

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I hate to admit it but my attorney is not the type of attorney that I need, ino other words, he will tell me all the things that I may do wrong or ways they could shut me down but he never tells me how to get "around" any rules. He doesn't like Christmas lights either from the impression I get from him - I guess it is time to seek different council.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I am still holding out hope... this whole issue goes before city council on November 5th - the good news is that I spoke to my local council guy and he sounds pretty positive about what we are doing - he was under the impression that we were doing all this to promote our business but we made sure last year that no one mentioned our business at all. He also thought we had speakers on the property which is also not true, we use an FM transmitter. I have invited him and any other council members that may be interested to my lighting up on November 30th and we are hoping that they will just realize that my neighbor is a crazy.

Meanwhile, I have been loading up on proof of the harassment from the neighbor and I am hoping to serve him with a peace bond (like a restraining order) in the next week or so. I am hoping that this will quell the constant harassment I have received and maybe even stop him from harassing the city as well.

No matter what I have 35,000 lights this year, 128 channels of LOR and we are close to getting 5 songs complete for this season. We are hoping to have the same coverage as last year which was 3 radio stations, local TV news, and 5 newspapers and if the city says no to the donationsfor the hospital - we will let them know that is why we are not collecting money this year.

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Putting the politicians in a bad light by preventing donations to a Hospital is the worst thing the politcians could want. Make SURE the media KNOW why you can't collect donations

Once it hits the news If they do it correctly) they shoudl be begging you to make things right.

I guess it shouldn't surprise me what politicians (and people)will do....but it still does

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  • 2 weeks later...

Tonight is the city hall meeting, I am hoping all goes well for approval for our charity portion of our display but I won't hold my breath.

I also had a neighbor come to me this morning to ask if we were still planning to do the show this year... I explained to her that we would be going ahead with the show and I told her I was surprised that she was disappointed that we were going ahead with the show because last year we spoke to her and she said that she had no problem with the show but that the neighbors weren't happy. I told her that if there was a way to compromise (have cars use my driveway to turn around, run the show for 2 or 3 weeks instead of the whole month of December) that I would be more than happy to compromise but I was not going to shut things down. I know that she and the wife of my problem neighbor have been together a lot lately so I am assuming that is why she has "switched" sides. She seemed disappointed and sad that she didn't get me to stop doing the show but after the amount of work and money that my family has invested into this years show I am not just going to say - OK I won't light up.

I am trying to see my neighbors side of things but I just can't understand what the big deal is, we were only traffic busy for about a week total - otherwise we only had at most 3 or 4 cars out front of our house.

Wish me luck - I hope to be writing a super positive follow-up message later on tonight!

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I just received my registered letter from the city council - they have denied my request for approval for collecting funds for the Children's Hospital, they have also put me on notice that I will most likely be fined if I light up this year - I could possibly be breaking two regulations under the city's nuisance policy - one being that you can not put lights on your property that could shine into another person's property, also the other one states that you can not have noise(I have an FM transmitter?!).

I have no idea what I am going to do - I have invested in 6 LOR boards, plus I have bought about 200 boxes of minis, and a bunch of other things to make the show bigger and better this year. I am about to send an e-mail to the Children's Hospital to let them know what the city said and then I guess I will start to contact some of the people (press/media) that come out last year.

Any other ideas would be appreciated.

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Light up and be prepared to be fined. Don't collect money for charity, but put a sign out encouraging direct donations to your charity. When they come for you (and they will), reply to them with a video of every display in the city that emits lights on other peoples property (technically, the city ROW is other property).

When you are taken to court, make a very loud noise in the media and arena of public opinion.

Then, quietly pay your fine and wait until next year.

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Christmas Angel wrote:

I just received my registered letter from the city council - they have denied my request for approval for collecting funds for the Children's Hospital, they have also put me on notice that I will most likely be fined if I light up this year - I could possibly be breaking two regulations under the city's nuisance policy - one being that you can not put lights on your property that could shine into another person's property, also the other one states that you can not have noise (I have an FM transmitter?!).

I have no idea what I am going to do - I have invested in 6 LOR boards, plus I have bought about 200 boxes of minis, and a bunch of other things to make the show bigger and better this year. I am about to send an e-mail to the Children's Hospital to let them know what the city said and then I guess I will start to contact some of the people (press/media) that come out last year.

Any other ideas would be appreciated.

ACLU my friend! They may be stupid sometimes, but could help in this situation.

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How are they going to enforce "shine"?....and noise.....does you neighbor mow his lawn?....I'd go full speed ahead....even start setting up some of your stuff...and get any and all media involved...they will love to see your registered denial letter! I'm betting once the media get's behind you you'll see city hall do a 180. Alsoplan on attending the next city council meeting with the media being there also. Best of luck!!!!

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Ok please publish the name of the town, the address and particulars of the officials and a copy of the letter.

We can start a reply on the scale that will hopefully change the minds of the ignorants.

RZ Hill

304-529-1637 days

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RHill wrote:

Ok please publish the name of the town, the address and particulars of the officials and a copy of the letter.

We can start a reply on the scale that will hopefully change the minds of the ignorants.

RZ Hill

304-529-1637 days

I would love to put a copy of the letter out there for you all but it is all in french. I live in a city called Vaudreuil-Dorion, province Quebec.

I have just e-mailed the Children's Hospital and hopefully they may have some ideas, my next option is to contact the two radio stations that covered our show last season - one DJ raved about our little show for a whole morning after coming to see it and he is also an avid supporter of the Children's Hospital.

To be honest with you all, my biggest concern is letting my son know, he is only 4 and he has been really excited and helping us build all of our stuff for this season. He was concerned that with our new baby arriving just before Christmas that we would not be able to do the show and he was worried about all the little boys and girls that we would not be able to help this season. I am going to wait and see what we come up with over the next couple of days but I really am upset for him too. I think I would rather pay a fine ($200-$2000 - for the first offence) than to disappoint him.

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Could you translate it ? then post the address of the Person(S) in charge.

If you need a donation for the "fine fund" Post that along with a Paypal Address. I'll donate a Twenty to get it started.

RZ Hill

I do the display for the children also , maybe they won't grow up to be scrooges.

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I'd go with putting my display up in full force. Then when I received my fine I would want the documented proof that every other house that put lights received the same treatment. As an active member in a small but effective neighborhood association board, "selective enforcement" is a serious offence.

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It's sounds like your neighbour has an in at city hall. I suspect if he didn't this wouldn't be an issue. He oviously making up stories to get at you and the city is not getting all the facts. If the inspecters say thee is nothing in the bylaws then it's someone higher up calling the shots. The best thing you can do is get the media involved and take it to the wall. It will build public support for you and the local hospital. And when the next election comes around vote the bums out.

Good Luck from the west coast of Canada Victoria.

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