When Christmas Light Displays Become a NuisanceJuly 1, 2010
We’ve all seen Christmas light displays that literally stop traffic. For many families, traveling around town during the Christmas holiday to see all of the fantastic lighting displays, is a yearly tradition. Ambitious homeowners with large displays often use hundreds of thousands of lights, making their homes a holiday event. These wonderful displays are great, and attract a lot of attention. The attention they attract often creates a lot of mixed feelings among neighbors, motorists, and public safety officials. This is because large and popular Christmas light displays congest otherwise quiet streets with lots of traffic, cause motorists to lose focus on the road, and create noise and light disturbances that can transform quiet neighborhoods into bustling thoroughfares. Over the past few years, a neighborhood in a mid-sized community in Michigan, has been operating an organized Christmas light display. Although initially popular, the growing display quickly began to irritate neighbors and others in the community, because of the noise and traffic it created. In fact, the display became so controversial that the it required intervention by the township. Fortunately, it appears that the parties have come to an agreeable resolution through a mediation process, and the “Christmas Road” display will continue in Spring Lake Township, Michigan.
Christmas lighting displays are great, and are an important part of our Christmas holiday tradition. However, if you have a large, traffic stopping display, here are a few things that you might want to consider to make sure your display does not become a neighborhood nuisance or worse:
Talk to Your Neighbors
Many disagreements and disputes about holiday displays could be prevented, if the display owner communicated and asked for input from his neighbors. Simple and brief conversations with the neighbors may provide some valuable insight about potential issues or concerns that can easily be avoided. It is also the neighborly thing to do.
Consider the overall impact your display will have on your neighborhood or environment. Are parts of the display so bright that they might disturb your neighbors sleep? If so, considering turning these parts off at night (or turn the whole thing off and save yourself a nickel.) Are crowds of cars and observers flooding your street to see your awesome display every night? Consider giving your neighbors a break and only light up the show on certain nights.