Doesn't This Take A Lot of City Resources?
Other than the considerable amount of taxpayer money Ankeny spent on lawyers and administrators going after me and my lights, my display took fewer city resources than the average block party last year (a "Local Traffic Only" sign and answering one call about a blocked drive for my display vs. two barricades and a police officer working PR for an hour for a block party). At the same time my display served thousands of residents (vs. how ever many show up for a block party), added serious income to the local economy, and generated warm feelings for the community they simply couldn't afford to buy any other way.

How Many Visitors?
At an estimated 24 cars per hour average, more than 3500 people would have seen my display during the course of the entire Christmas lighting season. You would never guess it, because I live on a side street that provides a natural traffic pattern to my house that eliminates problems. Also, because it is a computerized presentation, the way my visitors view the lights is by waiting in a single-file line along the curb stretching back both ways from my house. Which not only keeps the street open but is safer than traditional displays where visitors completely block the street in both directions as they view lights. While driving. With their lights off.

Are Christmas Lights Really Illegal in Ankeny?
Unless my lights don't count, yes they are. And they've told me and a couple of key legislators who have objected that they intend to keep it that way. So if the City tells you (read their letter here) that Christmas lights, including my lights, are not illegal, they are simply not telling you the truth, and they know it. So ask them this: If there is no law against Christmas lights in Ankeny, then why did the City's LAWYER send me a certified letter before my display was ever built threatening LEGAL action and quoting the City's nuisance LAW as the basis for it? And why did a LAW ENFORCEMENT officer respond to the only complaint they got all season by coming to my house and telling me I had to shut down because my lights were illegally violating that very Ankeny LAW?

What Your My Neighbors Think?
Other than the helicopter tours none of us like, or having to tell the occasional boorish visitor blocking our drives to move, I have received nothing but positive feedback from my neighbors. Although I have to admit that, for the most part, I have the best neighbors you're going to find anywhere. Is it totally hassle-free? No. Is it worth it? Yes. For example, the kids next door set up a hot chocolate stand and raised money for the Animal Rescue League. I got a couple of nice notes from other neighbors. Fact is that you can't tell anything is going on when you're in your house unless some visitor starts honking their horn or otherwise abusing the privilege. Except for those noisy, obnoxious helicopters.

Doesn't Traffic Clog Your Neighborhood?
A city out of control generally justifies their heavy-handed abuse of power under the guise of "public safety," which is a genuine responsibility. But in this case it's a straw man. Because I not only live in a perfect location with a three-block stretch without intersections to create natural traffic flows to and from the display. But my display is also a short, computer-controlled "show." Which means you have to wait in line to see it, at which point you have made it to the front of the house where you can watch the display. With most displays more visitors means more congestion and clogged streets. With my display, more visitors just means a longer line. With visitors waiting single-file along the curb stretching back only as far as they are willing to wait. The only traffic problem with my display is when a resident vehicle parks along the curb, forcing the line of visitors into the middle of the street (or backing up to Grant Street in 2007) Which is the very issue I went to the city for help on in the first place. Imagine that.

Why Does The City Have A Problem With Your Lights But Not The Ones In The Southeast Part Of Town?
Good question.