Orange County Neighborhood Forced To Take Down Christmas Lights

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A California neighborhood known for its colorful display of interlocking Christmas lights strung from house to house was told by Orange County officials that they would have to take the lights down.

Some 15 to 20 homeowners in Wagon Wheel received letters that the lights, many of which are strung overhead, are a violation of county code.

Calling the decorations an "unpermitted encroachment,” officials say they pose a fire hazard and might block access to emergency vehicles.

"Like, really?" Christy Gruner told the Los Angeles Times. "It's just lights, people."

Jean Pasco of the Orange County council told the Daily Mail they aren’t worried about the house displays, but rather the lights along the street.

“The light that hang over the street could be a hazard. Residents know that they're not supposed to hang lights over a public road. At some point they are dangling dangerously low,” said Pasco.

If a storm knocked the lights down, reported the Daily Mail, someone could be electrocuted.

The county says it will help the residents get a permit for the street lights, but it will be an arduous process.

"It would be unrealistic to have 34 different homeowners come and apply for a permit," said Nadia Haidar, a county spokeswoman. "It would be more ideal if the homeowners' association came to the table and offered themselves as the single permittee."

But the homeowner’s associations hasn’t been involved in the matter and isn’t expected to meet again until next year.

Sources: Daily Mail, Los Angeles Times