This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2006, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Several residents in a now-gateless Pleasant Grove gated community say they can cope with the short-term hardships that a neighbor's flashy Christmas display brought this year.
Some Creekside Community residents enjoy the elaborate holiday light display, and say that next year they again will tolerate cars full of gawking strangers that clog their private road.
In fact, the 35,000-light display at 3183 N. Millcreek Road could be larger - by another 55,000 lights.
Other neighbors chose not to discuss their opinions, fearing the attention would draw bigger crowds and further complicate traffic issues.
The big draw: an intense Christmas display adorning Richard Holdman's home in the exclusive northern Utah County community.
Neighbors held a Creekside Homeowners Association meeting this week to debate the issue.
For now, the light show will go on.
But residents do want the gate to their neighborhood returned so they can better regulate visitors. It was removed about a year ago during a dispute with city officials after they realized the developer had placed it on city-owned land.
It "will be going up in the spring, but we have to get the go-ahead from the city," Holdman said. His light show, he warned, will "probably be on a bigger scale next year . . . but if I can't get the gate open for the holiday season during the evening I won't do it here."
He caught some after-Christmas sales at Target and Wal-Mart where he bought the additional lights for next season. That's in addition to the ones he used this year. Holdman hopes to extend the decor to a neighbor's home and to light the community's neighborhood park.
"There will probably be some other people's houses hooked up next year," he said.
Supportive neighbors say that as it is, the show has drawn huge crowds along their one-way road and, along with them, some annoyances.
Mary Knight, Holdman's neighbor to the south and a display booster, said expanding the light show likely would complicate existing issues.
"People are concerned that if we [expand] we're going to be quite a spectacle," she said. "It'd be a heck of a lot of work and draw some serious crowds if we became some sort of Candy Cane Lane."
Disgruntled neighbors said visitors tore up their private park lawn, and on Christmas Eve backed traffic up for as much as a quarter-mile, causing 30-minute delays for residents trying to get home.
Knight downplayed the traffic issue, and said she simply turned on her hazard lights and drove to her house the wrong way on the road. She said she understands why some neighbors might be upset, but she is willing to sacrifice a couple weeks out of the year.
"Obviously everybody bought in this neighborhood because you're kind of secluded here," Knight said, "One guy flat out said, 'I got in a gated community because I wanted privacy, and I don't like the attention this light show brings.' "
"You'd think it'd be common sense: Don't drive your four-by-four through our park."
On his Web site - http://www.holdman.com - Holdman lays out visitor guidelines, asking them to respect his neighbors' property, to avoid littering and to not honk their horns.
Vicky Johnson, who lives across a lawn from Holdman, said her driveway has never been blocked, and she doesn't think the muddy roadsides are a big deal.
Holdman said the community may need some sort of traffic system. But if the gate goes up and the community completely closes off to visitors during the evening, he would move his display to a friend's house in another neighborhood.
He started building the display last summer, putting in an estimated 200 hours to place lights and program the light show, complete with synchronized music transmitted to nearby radios on 99.9 FM.
Holdman said he spent about $5,000 on this year's show , including the lights and extension cords, and he expects the display will end up costing about $150 in electricity.
"I told Richard he must love me a lot to put that up for me because I have a better view than he does," Johnson said. "It's really fabulous."
Craig Carroll, Holdman's neighbor to the north, said the traffic complicated parking for his family's Christmas gatherings. But, like Knight and Johnson, he still appreciates the lights.
"It's just a few weeks out of the year, so it's not a big deal to me," Carroll said. "I think . . . he's innovative enough to come up with some method of portraying Christmas in a way we've never seen before."
The Christmas lights display at 3183 N. Millcreek Rd. in Pleasant Grove runs from 5 to 10 p.m. Sunday and Monday and 5 -11 p.m. tonight. The owner said New Year's Day would be this season's final showing.