HOA threatens to shut down Hayden Christmas display

Taylor Viydo
Hayden Christmas Display

HAYDEN, Idaho -- A Hayden resident and his local Homeowners Association have already begun a face off over holiday decorations, a month and a half away from Christmas.

Jeremy Morris said he plans to host the "2nd Annual Hayden Christmas Light Show" at his house this December. The event featured carolers, elaborate light displays, and even a live camel in 2014. He said the event doubles as a charity fundraiser. In one week in 2014, Morris collected hundreds of dollars for two children's charities.

"Well this takes hundreds of hours," said Morris. "This year I made a commitment to count every single bulb."

He hosted the first annual show at a rental house in Hayden, and said he and his family moved into a new home that will make the event even better.

But Morris has already received a letter from a local law firm and from West Hayden Estates Homeowners Association telling him the light show is off.

"As truly the case, there's grinches and there's scrooges out there. And those scaly green creatures sometimes show their heads at Christmastime," said Morris.

Homeowner's association representatives said the display will violate three sections of their code, involving nuisance, excessive brightness and outdoor speakers.

The letter also mentioned a few other issues, without code references. Representatives said traffic would be an issue, specifically in the context of access for emergency vehicles and snow removal. They said the display would draw crowds of people, including "undesirables." It also mentioned the fact that some neighborhood residents are non-Christian and stated that could result in "problems."

READ: Letter sent to Morris by a lawyer

"We have worked hard to keep our area peaceful, quiet and clean," stated the letter from the Homeowners Board. "These are the reasons why people want to live here."

Morris said the light show only runs for five days, and just two hours each day.

"At 8:00 p.m., all of the lights turn off."

The letter from law firm officials stated the Homeowners Association would file a legal action to restrain the light show if necessary.

"I knew right then that nothing that an HOA says about rules that don't exist, is going to stop this event from happening," said Morris. "We're looking to really make this sort of the Clark Griswold Christmas over here in Hayden."