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Neighbors pull the plug for 2008


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I live in a Gated community and the past few years we have not had a Gate because of some issues with the City (which was fine with me, I really don't care if there is one). Well the HOA pushed the city and finally got approved to start building the Gate. The Gate will be done in about a month.

This past season, many of the neighbors have had issues with the Christmas Light Show. They all love it but some did not like the results of what it brought. At first many complained about the traffic so early in December I put together a crew of people that consisted of Me, Friends, Family, & Church Members. We had 3-4 people working the traffic. We would only allow 25 cars in at time and people would wait at the gate. Our road allows for up to 50 people to wait. Neighbors, Friends, Pizza Delivery Person, etc. where able to pass everybody and get right in.

Once Traffic was resolved, some people were satisfied but now there were other concerns raised like Security, Wear on Tear on our private community, Liability, etc. Concerns where all over the place.

It pretty much came down to people not wanting strangers in the neighborhood. We had our HOA meeting last night and it was put to the vote if the Gate Would Be allowed open during December. I told them for 2008 that I would have the traffic control in place and it would not run on Christmas Eve, Christmas Night, and New Years Eve.

11 Voted for the Gate to be Open, 13 Voted for it to be Closed.

Of course I could still decorate my house any way I want and still do the display, but people would not be able to get in. We had 5000+ cars come through this past season and it would seem a little snobbish to me to create this large Animated display and then not allow people in that want to see it. Tons of people would be waiting at the gate wondering how to get in.

So the plan now is to either not do it at all or move it to a friends house (who helped me a lot this past season with traffic). There are some other options about moving it into a City Park. Time will tell.

This was not a result of Media Attention which some people might think. We were playing traffic copy before ANY media showed up. The lines just got longer with the Media attention which we where able to manage just fine.

I am not going to say my Neighbors are Scrooges or Idiots (many of them I would call friends), because they moved into a Gated Community and this is what they want. It is not want I want though so maybe it is time to move. Many of the neighbors are sad to see it go from the neighborhood. Majority Rules.

Anyway, Just a little down today.

===

One note of good news though. I just got an e-mail from a guy in Nigeria saying that I am in line to inherit $22 Million Dollars! :laughing:

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I'M SOOO SORRY!!!!

I'm sitting at my computer crying....I am so sorry Richard!! We were hoping to come out and see it sometime! (In the future of 2 to 3 years)

I'm really really sorry....I feel so bad. I wish there was a way I could help. Please let me know if I can.

-Tyler

P.S. My whole family says sorry and is sad that you cannot do it anymore.

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Well I am pretty sure it will happen at my friends house. We went to lunch together and already started taling about installing some subpanels. The lights will live on, there will just not be as much Christmas Spirit in my neighborhood but a whole lot in his!

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Richard,

You have poured your money, heart and soul into your display. I appreciate the fact that you are being a good neighbor and getting along with them. I am too, sadden that your wonderful display is being moved.

You have shared everything of yourself and display idea to better our lighting community. I so thankful to you for all you have done for PCers.

May your light shine brighter. Even though this door is closing may a even better door of oppurtunity open for you.

God Bless you and your family.

Michael Beason

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Wow..i feel bad for you....i mean your light show is sort of part of you..and i feel like thats being taken away...:{

But i guess if you live in a gated community...you kinda expect a gate, right?

Shoot...I'd personally move If I were you..... you should have no problem selling with the view you have ;)

But on a better note..look what happend to Carson Williams....Maybe you can take it to somewhere bigger and show it off to even more people....and maybe it will open evenmore doors for you than you ever imagined.....Everything happens for a reason.

Just dont forget about us little guys....and girls when it does......;)

And if you can do it at your friends.....go for it...

*My neighbors dont like strangers in my neighborhood either.. let alone on my street.. trust me.*

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RichardH wrote:

One note of good news though. I just got an e-mail from a guy in Nigeria saying that I am in line to inherit $22 Million Dollars! :laughing:

Richard I am sorry to hear the vote wasnt for your side. I know you kind of expected this to happen. It is sad to see a great display have to go to a different house but at least you have a place you can display it at.

I havent had one of those emails for about 2 yrs now.

Good luck with the display!

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Well Richard, just like everyone else has said I am very sad too hear this. I know that you put in a lot of time and energy into your display. I am happy though that you can still get along with your neighbors. I just ask that whatever happens please don't forget to stop by here and talk with us little people!

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Richard,

I am so sorry that this has been taken away from you. It was always a display I enjoyed viewing online (couldn't make the 6000 mile trip to see it in person:}).

It seems that a lot of this is happening this year. Us included.

Anyhow, to cheer you up a little, you can have:

"In my department I discovered an abandoned sum of 10.5m us dollars in an account that belongs to one of our foreign customer (Dr. Eric MORGAN) 59 years American citizen who died 11th September 2001with event of terrorist attack on World Trade Canter."

and:

"I am the manager of bill and exchange at the foreign remittance department

of BANK OF AFRICA. I am writting to seek your coperation over this business

deal.

In my department, I discovered an abandoned sum of$15million USD(Fifteen

million US dollars)only , in an account that belongs to one of our foreign

customers who died along with his entire family in a plane crash that took

place in Kenya,East Africa,the Late DR. GEORGE BRUMLEY,a citizen of

Atlanta,United States of America"

to go with your $22m!:P

these emails arrive daily for me!!!

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Sorry to hear about the turn of events for your display - I know exactly how you feel and I moved my display this year with only 3 weeks notice - so be thankful that you can plan and think of the fun your friend will have (and the free help). My in-laws ended up hosting my display and they and their neighbors loved every minute of it. The response this year was so positive and my in-laws loved gloating that their daughter-in-law was the one that set it up for them.

I will only warn you of one thing - be prepared for changes/suggestions on the display from your host - my father-in-law now has huge plans for my display next year - he has told me what he wants to see and even tried an hour (pounding his head on his desk) trying to program LOR with 128 channels.

It turned out for me to be a blessing having the display elsewhere - it is hard to get things done with the amount of hours you are away from your home setting up. But luckilyfor you, you have a little sunshine (your daughter) that seems to help you a lot and your wife seems to be quite supportive of your hobby. The other thing is to give your friend a little lesson on the LOR software so if there are any computer glitches/power failures, you are not leaving at dinner to run over to your display to get it up and running.

Good luck with your moving plans and just think of how many more people will be enjoying your display next year. I look forward to seeing what you do with a new house/yard because you inspired so many of us with you current display.

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Richard,

I hate to hear about this for you, you have the absolute best display I've seen around not to mention the whole KFC thing.

I am surprised to hear that only 24 people voted on thisissue for the whole neighborhood. When they brought this up at our annual hoa meeting last year people were all for the gates until it was mentioned that gating the community meant the all roads became the property of the hoa and that included maintenance which means our hoa fees would have more than doubled. That was they point that made folks change thier mind. Nobody really wanted to pay $1000 bucks a year in hoa fees for all the extra maintenance. Not sureif that works the same in your area, but something that your neighbors may want to investigate.

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Philip wrote:

Richard,

I hate to hear about this for you, you have the absolute best display I've seen around not to mention the whole KFC thing.

I am surprised to hear that only 24 people voted on thisissue for the whole neighborhood. When they brought this up at our annual hoa meeting last year people were all for the gates until it was mentioned that gating the community meant the all roads became the property of the hoa and that included maintenance which means our hoa fees would have more than doubled. That was they point that made folks change thier mind. Nobody really wanted to pay $1000 bucks a year in hoa fees for all the extra maintenance. Not sureif that works the same in your area, but something that your neighbors may want to investigate.

Well actually there were 24 votes. Every household gets 1 vote per lot. There are 33 lots so 9 lots did not vote.

We have to pay for the roads already. There use to be a gate about 5 years ago for about a year and then it had to be moved. There were issues with the city and the gate could not be rebuilt until just a few months ago.

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Man, that's terrible! My heart sunk when I read the first few lines... I really truely love your display. I'm glad you have an open mind about the whole deal and are keeping positive and already making plans for the display's move. Hopefully it will all work out for the best! Maybe the new location can be bigger and allow in more traffic flow even easier!

This is just another reason I'd never want to live in an area like that... Too many people making decisions for everyone else. I know that you chose to live where you do for probably many reasons, but me personally, I'd nver want to live anywhere behind a gated wall...

Like I said though, I'm sure it will all work out before next fall!

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Jason Rose wrote:

Man, that's terrible! My heart sunk when I read the first few lines... I really truely love your display. I'm glad you have an open mind about the whole deal and are keeping positive and already making plans for the display's move. Hopefully it will all work out for the best! Maybe the new location can be bigger and allow in more traffic flow even easier!

This is just another reason I'd never want to live in an area like that... Too many people making decisions for everyone else. I know that you chose to live where you do for probably many reasons, but me personally, I'd nver want to live anywhere behind a gated wall...

Like I said though, I'm sure it will all work out before next fall!

I really don't care for the gate. When we first saw the lot, there was not a single house in the neighborhood and there was no gate. We choose the lot to build on because it has a stream that runs along the back yard with lots of trees. They told us a gate was going in later but I didn't think it would be a problem (had no idea at the time that I would be doing a big display). We started building our house at the same time another person did and where the first ones in the new neighborhood. Other houses started getting built and they finally put the gate it.

It was normally open during the day and only shut at night. We then lost the gate because it had to be moved so it was taken out and there was no gate for years. Now a crop of new people that have moved in and want the gate closed 24/7

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Hi Richard,

That really sucks to hear about you having to move the display. I'm sure the display will be just as good or better than it currently is.Hopefully you will also have more time available to enjoy your work andbe able tospend more time with your family instead of directing traffic in an attempt to keep the neighbors who want to live in a gated and quite community happy. How old is the track of homes you live in?You said there use to be a gate 5 years ago but the homes look like they are only a year or two old. Is it possible to have another vote and have the other 9 lots put in their say as well? Do you only need a majority vote to keep it open? Or do you need everyone to vote to keep it open?

In a way I'm hoping your friend has a house very simalar to yours so the transition will be easy. However, it would also be really neat to see your creativity flourish again in a new way.

-Chris

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JellyTheory wrote:

Hi Richard,

That really s***s to hear about you having to move the display. I'm sure the display will be just as good or better than it currently is.Hopefully you will also have more time available to enjoy your work andbe able tospend more time with your family instead of directing traffic in an attempt to keep the neighbors who want to live in a gated and quite community happy. How old is the track of homes you live in?You said there use to be a gate 5 years ago but the homes look like they are only a year or two old. Is it possible to have another vote and have the other 9 lots put in their say as well? Do you only need a majority vote to keep it open? Or do you need everyone to vote to keep it open?

In a way I'm hoping your friend has a house very simalar to yours so the transition will be easy. However, it would also be really neat to see your creativity flourish again in a new way.

-Chris

There are only two empty lots and there are two people in the neighborhood that own them. They each where able to cast two votes since they pay dues on two lots. One person voted TWICE to have the gate open and another voted twice to have it shut.

I worked it as best as I could. I called people up that I knew wanted the Display to go on and got two votes in writing for people that wanted the lights but could not attend.

My friend lives on a corner lot so we can do a lot of cool stuff with the wrap around lot.

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Guest troutlights

Richard, I just went to your website to enjoy your show once again.Its GREAT,sorry to hear about the move it just will not be the same. It seems like the lights are molded to your house.Thanks for all the ideas.

Jeff Trout

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troutlights wrote:

Richard, I just went to your website to enjoy your show once again.Its GREAT,sorry to hear about the move it just will not be the same. It seems like the lights are molded to your house.Thanks for all the ideas.

That, of course, was due to Richard's talents at setting up the display. No doubt he'll "mold the lights" to the new place as well...

-Tim

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Sorry to hear the bad news Richard. Our HOA requires more than a simple majority ... something like 2/3 of all homeowners ... but we are not gated either.

Based on your display and your website -- your future is extremely bright. Your the envy of so many here ... everything you do seems to be first class. And the way your handling this difficult situation is no different.

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Richard, first of all, I'm really sorry to read about this.

but here's a little idea -

a number of years ago down here in South Florida, there was a house not far from where I live that was hands-down the best display in South Florida.

Then, I-95 expanded and it destroyed their ability to do a display. I forget why.

So what they did, was take their display and make a small theme park out of it at a commercial location. Granted, it was a total flop, but it opens up some ideas.

How about you approach the local government and offer to do your display as a municipal display, in exchange for them providing the power?

Or, since you're doing this for charity, see if maybe the local government will let you run your display at a local park or something and charge a small fee for admission, all of which will go to charity.

Just some ideas.

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MrPhred wrote:

I'm so sorry to hear that Richard.

However, your attitude about the whole situation just further proves to me what a really decent person you are. That's true grace (and positive attitude) under fire.

I will ditto this statement. Thank you, Richard.There are people that like to bring others down to their level and there are some who bring others up. You are one of them.

Michael B

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Guest Jeff_Womack

Richard,

Like everyone else I am saddened to hear about the gate. I hate them more than morst of the people here hate HOA's. When we started looking to build in 2007, one of my first priorities was no gated communities. Hey I was just wondering, have you approached the city about doing a municipal display? Maybe you could start them off with your supply of Christmas Lights and they could provide the electrical and future upgrades. Just an idea.

Jeff

(Less than 30 days till we moved to our new 2.2 acre lot in the "country" without an HOA and without a gate! The new road frontage is 460 feet across a slight curve! Watch out for 2008! Not bad seeing how I have been dealing with 55 foot wide lots for 5 years!)

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I feel your pain Jeff.....We live in the country and our front yard is 300ft wide and 200ft deep to the front of the house. My problem with designing is it will still take a whole lot more to fill this area up. I guess just sections at a time will have to do. Uncle Sam takes to much out of check to buy lg. quantities of lights.

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Richard,

That is just terrible. That is the trouble with gated communities. HOA's are primarily built to protect the quality of the neighborhood and maintain property values. I'm sure a majority of everyone in your neighborhood truly enjoys the display, BUT don't enjoy TONS of people coming to see it. I guess that if I lived in a gated community and had 5,000 cars drive through, I might feel uncomfortable myself. Your house...and neighborhood is impecible! You really do live in a really nice (and quiet) place. The displays we create are great...and everyone wants to see them to make it part of their holidays. And...well...sometimes that backfires on those that live around us. Either that...or they are just jealous that you have the best display around! :)

This doesn't mean that you just give everything up. Before you know it, you will have others coming to you (e.g. city, newspapers, etc.) to explain your story or to find an alternate way of doing it. If you really want it to be your house that is decorated...and you feel that strongly about it, then you should probably consider moving. However, if it doesn't have to be your house, then consider local parks (after working with the city), shopping malls,or your friends house. Whatever you do...just don't drop it. You have greattalent for a simplistic, yet complex display.

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