Neighborhood torn as viral holiday light show shuts down

Famous Christmas light display shut down

SAN ANTONIO -- A famous Christmas light display has been shut down after its designer says it has gone too viral for its own good.

Matt Johnson designed a now nationally-recognized light show at his home in Wind Gate Ranch on the far west side. The show has become so popular it even appears on Google Maps.

But Johnson says the popularity this year, and traffic from the display, has gotten so extreme that it has led to legal threats and even reports of harassment.

The homeowner's association had threatened legal action for a public nuisance.

"I felt intimidated, I felt like they were threatening me," Johnson said.

On Tuesday night the Wind Gate Ranch community met to discuss the issue, among other items on the agenda.

KENS 5 cameras were not allowed inside.

Neighbors we spoke with off-camera say that the issue had started to affect many in the neighborhood. Some residents claimed that people in the development had become so upset with the frequent visitors that they started harassing those who entered the gates, following their cars and demanding to know whether or not they lived there.

Those inside the meeting said that the light display had been on the agenda for open comment, but the open comment portion was cancelled before the residents could make their arguments, much to the dismay of many.

Johnson says he didn't need the board to vote on it. He had decided to cancel the show already.

"The stress that has come about from this issue is not what I signed up for," Johnson said. "This was supposed to be something that made people happy."

The worst part, Johnson says, is that the eye-catching show was all for charity. The family had set a goal of collecting $10,000 in donations for the Central African Republic, a Christian program offering sustainable water sources to remote communities.

"Without the lights running, we'll no longer be getting donations for clean water wells," Johnson lamented.

The president of the Wind Gate Ranch homeowners association declined to comment for this story.

Johnson says his family is still hoping to collect donations for charity. Those who wish to help can donate at www.water.cc/johnsonlightshow.


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