Neighbours and Build it they will come

Discussion in 'The Family Room' started by GCAllan, Jan 4, 2017.

  1. GCAllan

    GCAllan New Elf

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    Hi All


    I am not a big poster in the forum but I do follow a lot of the posts.


    The reason for my post is I am feeling a bit devastated about elnino's plight with his neighbours, (posts from him are priceless and invaluable), and are now concerned about creating a show display that can become too "known". My neighbours at the moment a generally OK. I take Fasteddys words in his replies "if you build it they will come" and wonder where "if at all" do you stop, because the traffic that visited our house this year was nothing less than chaos and now that our house is "out there" next year is only going to get worse.


    That means potentially I will create the vengeance of neighbours as suffered by elnino.


    Just wonder how everyone else tackles this issue as i'm sure if I had a neighbour like elnino's I just would have had to ring the council and they would have been around putting the neighbour in their place. "Fair Dinkum blocking the street, WTF"


    Al



    PS. This was my second year doing synchronised lights and for those interested I have posted videos of my display on youtube https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8E2vEFyRPP5jV2ZMFIwh6e-g29uYRgpP or search "Burleigh XMAS Lights" on youtube.


    This year we entered the Gold Coast City Christmas light competition which resulted in us coming third.


    I did speak to our deputy mayor about the traffic issue at the presentation and she said they may look into traffic control this year, I assume you would have to be in the competition for this to happen.
     
  2. JPB

    JPB Full Time Elf

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    We live in a small cul de sac and I don't advertise the lights for this reason, we get enough traffic through word of mouth (even had two cars at the same time a couple of times this season ).


    Sent from my GT-I9505 using Tapatalk
     
  3. Wendys

    Wendys New Elf

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    AWESOME display Al
     
  4. Fing

    Fing Full Time Elf Generous Elf

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    I'm lucky to have really good neighbours. But I also realise the issues that it can cause, and I am out the front every night with phone in pocket, to monitor it and direct traffic, hand out lollies to the kids, and have a chat.


    So far I've had no problems, all drivers have been well behaved and move on when asked to clear driveways etc. My biggest issue all month was stopping the traffic so that a neighbour's visitor could reverse out of the driveway. No problems everyone was good about it.


    I've not had any yobos yet, maybe it's because I'm there, and maybe it's because they won't get a lollipop?


    All my neighbours know i'm out the front and will stop the show if there are any issues.


    Cheers
    Fing
     
  5. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    Just finished my last season too but not due to traffic or neighbours. South Australia is not going to have as many lights in 2017 due to elnino, smartalec and myself all going without a display here.

    It was my 9th season and the traffic wasn't too bad. The neighbours are sad that I'm stopping decorating this house and moving into share housing. There isn't much traffic in this area normally so only a few people found my lights by chance. From there it was word of mouth spreading due to Facebook etc. I did not post public videos, enter competitions or list myself on any online maps. Doing these things exposes you to a larger potential audience. It's a shame that such an audience missed out but it worked out well for the local community here and those who were lucky enough to find out. I even repeatedly checked the online maps and would have asked them to remove me if I'd shown up.

    The short answer is that I avoided doing anything that could possibly advertise my lights.
     
  6. Lishfish

    Lishfish Full Time Elf

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    Our neighbors are heaps chill and the grandparents have known most of them for 20+years. Met the new ones next door due to their dog barking and they were so good about it. Even with loud music parties ive had they don't mind at all (sent them all notes first). I guess if you got a good neighborhood let everyone near you know that there will be increased traffic and people and tell them you'll be out their actively making sure all is good, most people would be okay with that. I've heard from a couple people that they then send out christmas cards to the neighborhood thanking them as well. Good luck! :D
     
  7. ShellNZ

    ShellNZ Senior Elf

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    I have a very long story that still continues to this day, so wont really go into it hugely, I'll just give timeline of events lol.....

    December 2013
    Stupidly got asked to go on TV, crowd went from 50 a night to nearly 1000 from 18th December 2013 and it was havoc.

    Got 3 complainants, very very strong ones.

    2014
    Spent the year with council and Auckland Council (lets call it 3rd tier council) creating a plan. Got maori wardens in (free) to manage the traffic.

    Complainants kept going very strongly up the council chain of command.

    2015
    It was recommended by local MP to get a Resource consent, in effect, to shut up the complainants. Went to many meetings, spent $17K on Resource consent (thankfully paid for by developers), spent $5.5K on traffic plan with approved company. 15,000 visitors to show in December.

    Complainants kept going and disputed the Resource consent, noise control >12 times, noise and glare tested etc etc.

    2016
    Council decided to exhaustively monitor the year so compliancy team came out 18 out of the 24 nights of show and had to fill in 10-pages of paperwork and take photos of e.g portaloo, speaker dial, rubbish bin, sign showing a contact phone number etc. Many meetings once again and council decided, in November before the show even ran to do a Section 128 (review of resource consent) due to an extra road being closed thereby deeming it "more than what was consented for", however they let this years show run and will do the Section 128 in 2017.

    2017.......who knows.

    Why do we fight it? Because we as a neighbourhood will not be dictated to by the remaining 2 complainants (one left due to work committments). The joy it brings to the 15K visitors we get each year outweighs the 3-4 people it puts out. There are 159 homes that light up at Xmas time, there are 2 of us beside each other that do musical shows. My neighbour took a 2yr break from it but got back into it in 2016. He is not included in the Resource Consent therefore what happens to him this year Im not sure. During the years I have cut back my show, it now runs from 1-24th December, 9-10pm weeknights, 9-10:30pm during weekends and last week of Christmas.

    Will we keep fighting? Yes. Rumor has it that the primary complainants are moving this year, we will see.

    If we hadnt of gone on TV they may still have come, but not all in one hit, it would have built over the years no doubt. I wouldnt recommend highlighting your show, especially in media. Its not worth it.

    Pic of this years crowd
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  8. BradsXmasLights

    BradsXmasLights WiFi Interactive

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    [SIZE=small]I'm also in a cul de sac street that is only the width of two cars.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=small]Whilst I've not had any complaints yet, I'm very mindful with ensuring my neighbours are kept happy. My traffic has really increased in the past few years - but has still been manageable so far, and actually down in 2016. Weather this was because Xmas fell on a weekend & everyone was still working - or because I didn't enter the main 4KQ competition this time, I do not know for sure. But I was still flogging my display on Facebook, my own website, and a few other website's that had compiled lists of Brisbane Christmas Lights.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=small]The 'competitions' are really a double edged sword. If you place, you'll get swamped when they call you "best Christmas lights in XYZ". I'm 100% sure the judges here factor that for their own reputation too. You just need to compare all the past winning addresses regarding accessibility for a full-size council bus tour [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=small]That said, I much rather people plan to visit my lights cause they know about my display beforehand, rather than just being an address on a list. Otherwise having heaps of cars that just drive down the street - and straight back out again – without knowing that my display is synchronized and interactive is a total waste of time. Donations also suffer when it gets really busy like that too.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=small]My methods:[/SIZE]
    • Website – www.bradsxmaslights.com – that tells everyone that they'll be no parking the street and that the best parking can be found around the corner, in front of a soccer fields in my case. This works for maybe a third to half of my visitors – depending on time of night/etc. The same parking PSA is also stated on my light's Facebook page. I also make a point saying that cars parked might be my neighbours. They can park where they like. Anyone visiting my display can not, especially if they are going to block the street.
    • Traffic Cones. Big ones, down where I don't want people to park/stop – so I can keep at least one side of the street clear for passing cars. (remembering my street is only 2 cars wide). The taller 600+mm work much better, particularly for 4WD's. Cheapo Kmart flashing light ‘glowstick' in some of them too – as they tend to become visible, particularly for those leading up to my display. (People stop, then get cars behind them, then a moron (P plater) tries overtaking, and there's already another car trying to get back the other way, etc).
    • Constantly watch the display. I'm usually out the front especially if it's busy. Otherwise CCTV live view helps for the quieter times.
    • Wear a fluro vest & have a torch. You might look like a tosser, but this has secret benefits.
      A) you'll look important/authoritive when giving advice. Many will know to ask if you're the owner or not then too.
      B) Neighbours can easily spot you in low light.
      C) You'll show up like a neon light on your own CCTV footage. Makes reviewing footage for whatever reason much easier if you know that that blurry-ness in the distance was yourself or not.
    • If crossing the road in-front of moving cars, turn the torch on to light your path. Cars may not be looking straight ahead.
    • Same when approaching any stopped cars; do not sneak up on them, always approach wide, with torch lighting path. Walking up, parallel to a car (via either side), may spook the driver, especially for women. We do not want them hitting the accelerator in fright.
    • IF you see any car parked up - but still in reverse gear (reversing lights on) - remind them. Don't want them going backwards in to your crowd/etc!
    • When it starts to get busy, I setup a ‘wheelie-bin sized' sign that says “BUSES TURN AHEAD” so people think twice about parking in the actual cul de sac. This greatly helps with keeping cars moving. In the past I'd patient cars queuing to turn around as expected, then P-plated moron tries a 3 point turn in the middle of everywhere.
    • Also reminding/asking people to stand on the footpath rather than gutter/road helps keep cars moving. make a joke that the cars sometimes don't drive straight. (true ;))
    • As I usually allow cars to park opposite (blocking half the street), when it gets busier it starts turning in to a Russian roulette about who'll give way. At this point some basic traffic control (stand in street with torch) so existing cars can escape helps.
    • But when it gets really busy, the traffic cones will go out on the other side of the street too.
    • Anyone who looks like stopping/trying to park is approached, “are you looking for parking?” and directed around the corner (or to a suitable spot if the street is less busy)
    • Anyone who dares park across a driveway will be asked to move their car. “oh hi! Looking for parking? My neighbours are expecting someone, etc” or some BS - rather than what I'd like to say. Everyone will move. Some seem to storm off in the process. I don't care. Don't block my neighbour's driveway
    • Collect for a charity. Your raising money for sick kids / a good cause!
    • I tightly control my music volume, which is played via tiny 2” speakers. Bass is also removed via a mixing desk too. Volume is then adjusted throughout the night via my phone using the FPP web interface. Also very handy if someone's car radio gets noisy with your FM transmitter.
    • The louder your volume, the louder the audience will be. Decreasing can help queieten people down - or *move* them on ;)
    • FM transmitter is switched off if it gets too busy. Stops cars from parking up then
    • Particularly after 9pm on weeknights, talking to the P-plater crowds helps keep excitement/loud voices under control. Tell them you'll get shutdown / baby sleeping or something. They'll be cool
    • Run a strict Finishing time. Eg. 10 PM and no later and stick to it. Too bad for anyone who turns up late. Tell them it's on a timer/computer's already shut down and it starts again tomorrow for 7. Unlike a noisy neighbour who is partying all night long, neighbours will have some comfort knowing you'll wind up by a certain time every night.
    • End of the night, patrol for any dumped rubbish. (almost making sure you've left none of your own gear out.)
    [SIZE=small]Could probably go on and on… but that's enough for now :) [/SIZE]
     
  9. BradsXmasLights

    BradsXmasLights WiFi Interactive

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    And I will go on - this might become a good mini topic...


    * Fencing - Rope off areas of your display where you don't want people wondering in to. eg: across the top of the driveway - so people can't walk right up to the house and touch elements, etc. This may also help with your public liability risk.
    * Design all rope/bunting fencing to collapse. A kid will jump on it. 25mm conduit in ground, with 20mm conduit as posts makes for quick removal each night. Don't leave conduits/posts out as these could be used for vandalism cricket-bat style. Don't ever attach it to something like your letterbox.
    * Lack of fencing in neighbour's front-yards that are across the road, can also become an issue as crowds grow, as they'll start to flowing in to their front yards. A couple of traffic cones on the property line helps give people the idea. If it suddenly pours down rain, ppl may run for the front of their house for shelter.
     
  10. kel

    kel Dedicated Elf

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    Great posts, brad :D

    I'm going to add one for you ...

    electric fencing is cheap ... and, it is low voltage (or solar powered) tooooooooooooooooooooooo ;)
     
  11. fasteddy

    fasteddy I have C.L.A.P Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    Unfortunately large crowds have been the downfall of many displays in the past. My display when I last did it was getting too big and required constant traffic management with hundreds or cars coming each night with a line of over 50 cars. I had the consent of 22 of 23 neighbours with a signed map giving their consent to the traffic control and display. But I still had the police called nearly every night from people outside of the street due to increased traffic, the police were always nice and would say they would argue at the police station on who would come so they get to enjoy the show.
    At first when you start then you want to get exposure for your display but once you get exposure then facebook/social media and word of mouth take over and you will have no control over the numbers of people that will come and it normally gets bigger each year, I experienced a doubling of people each year without any media coverage except when I first started.

    Unfortunately we are starting to see more a more issues for some members who have been doing this for a few years as they are becoming too popular with their neighbours starting to feel overwhelmed.

    In the end I stopped doing my display for a few reasons, one of those was to free the neighbours again, but it was mainly due to energy and time needed to manage it. What is funny is many neighbours now complain that im not doing it anymore. maybe my son will take up the torch this year and do something small.

    So be careful on what you wish for
     

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