AUBURN — The city won’t require creators of a popular holiday light show to pay for police traffic control next month, clearing away a big hurdle for the show.
Jamie Loggins said he and Vista Drive neighbor Stephen Bang were planning to go forward with their fourth annual display, featuring thousands of lights timed to a holiday music.
“If we can, we’d like to start in the first week of December,” Loggins said. “That would be great, if we can do it.”
But other neighbors said they were not looking forward to the display. Tim and Angela Delorme, 115 Vista Drive, live farther up the cul-de-sac and said the past shows have made life on the street dangerous and frustrating.
“We are talking about hundreds, maybe thousands of cars a night,” said Tim Delorme. “And we’re talking every night, not one night like a football game. It goes on every night.”
Neighbors complained that the show draws so many cars to the narrow cul-de-sac that they have difficulty reaching their homes after work or leaving to go do errands. Delorme complained that he once had to escort a guest out, clearing traffic along the way, last year.
“It’s not about the lights or about Christmas or anything like that,” Angela Delorme said. “It’s about the traffic, and why the traffic is there. It’s the special thing about this show, the wonderful way they time the lights to the music, that brings the traffic — and someone should be responsible for that.”
Councilors were considering changing a traffic control ordinance to require people that host events that draw crowds to reimburse the city for the cost of police traffic control.
Police Chief Phil Crowell said the ordinance would have cost Loggins and Bang $4,000 this year. It was too much, Loggins said.
“People may think we are made of money, but we’re not,” Loggins said. He said he would have canceled this year’s display if the change had passed.
It failed by a 3-4 vote, with councilors Robert Hayes, Eric Samson and David Young voting to approve.
City Manager Glenn Aho said that the city currently does not have money budgeted to pay for increased police patrols at the road. Loggins said the answer may be in the spectators that come to watch his show.
“Part of the responsibility of this free gift may be acting responsibly and keeping traffic moving and not being a nuisance,” Loggins said.