County orders California neighborhood to take Christmas lights down


A California county’s Public Works Department ordered homeowners in a small neighborhood known for its elaborate Christmas light displays that they’re going to have to pull the plug because they’re in violation of county code.

The estimated 15 to 20 homeowners who received the letter are scratching their heads, given that the holiday tradition has gone without complaint for about five years, according to KTLA Channel 5 News.

“We’re in violation of a county ordinance that we’re not quite sure of,” resident Brian Kopiec told KTLAl. “When we bought the house, the people that sold it to us told us what a great neighborhood it was, and they actually warned us that this neighborhood goes great at Christmas

The letter gave residents until Wednesday to turn the lights off.

“I think it’s actually horrible, what they’re doing to us,” Kopiec said. “All the poor kids — they love [the lighting display], and it really brings the neighborhood

One more nail in Christmas’s coffin. Watch the KTLA news report.

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About Michael Dorstewitz

Mike has been with BizPac Review almost from the beginning. Email Mike at michael@bizpacreview and follow him on Twitter at @MikeBPR.

  • EliseR

    Michael Dorstewitz conveniently neglected to mention that homeowners have only been directed to take down the lights that are strung between properties and over the public streets because they are in violation of county codes and could be dangerous. Decorations on individual homes are fine.

    Quote from Orange County official below:

    Jean Pasco from Orange County council explained that the
    concern was with the lights that had been strung up over the streets and not the individual displays on people’s houses.

    “The lights 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.”

  • Mark Adams

    This is nothing but a bah humbug attempt to remove ‘Christ’mas from Orange county.
    Code I found, allows it.
    Section 7-2-9. Section 90-16 added
    (a) Required Permits. No electrical equipment shall be installed nor electrical work performed within or on any building, structure or premises, publicly or privately owned, in the unincorporated area of Orange County, nor shall any alteration or addition be
    made in any such existing equipment without securing a permit therefor, before such work is commenced, from the Building Official except as provided in this Article and except that no permit will be required to execute any of the following classes of electrical work:
    (3) Temporary decorative lighting.
    Ignore the county’s threat.

    • Charles Wesley

      So, they don’t let you change a light bulb without a building permit. What a crock of crap…

    • Joseph Morgan

      Great find. Glad you posted this code as proof that they are indeed lying about their own code in effect.

      • Mark Adams

        The internet is a great place to find info, ya think? :)

  • Kathy F

    Sure wish they’d post the actual letter from the county. Is it because the residents can’t decorate their homes or because they can’t bring lights across streets? There is a big difference. I hate being mislead!

  • Anita C Lively

    you may be considered more credible if you just told the truth and didn’t spin the story!

  • EliseR

    If you read this on the internet, it is false too:

    Meanwhile In Australia. CHRISTMAS LIGHTS BANNED CAIRNS: Christmas Lights in Cardwell, North Queensland have been banned by the local council after a complaint from the new Al Shalalah Mosque built in the town just weeks ago. Iman Adnan Janutab said that the towns 100 Muslim residents found the lights to be an offensive celebration of Christmas and urged Christians to practice their beliefs privately within their homes, and not in public. The Council said in a statement that the
    request was approved because the needs of the religious minority needed to be respected. Please share THIS MESSAGE! So we can put Christmas lights up! THIS IS AUSTRALIA AND WE DESERVE TO LIVE OUR WAY YOU COME HERE YOU RESPECT OUR TRADITIONS What a load of rubbish!!!

    FACTS: Cardwell is a small coastal town (pop. ~1,250) in North Queensland, Australia. In December 2013, a (since-removed) item posted to the Meanwhile in Australia Facebook page asserted that the local council had banned the display of
    Christmas lights in that town in response to complaints from Muslim residents who “found the lights to be an offensive celebration of Christmas.”

    However, that item was just a hoax. As detailed in a Chronicle news report, not only was no such ban enacted, but Cardwell doesn’t even have a mosque:

    A Tiny town in north Queensland with a population of less than 1500 is making headlines after a Facebook hoax accusing it of bowing to Christmas-light hating Muslims went viral.

    The Cassowary Coast council — which includes the town of Cardwell between Cairns and Townsville — tackled the nonsense rumour head-on.

    “A hoax statement has been posted on a Facebook page about Christmas lights in Cardwell. Council HAS NOT banned Christmas lights in the town,” the council posted on its website.

    The council is receiving no lobbying from any religious group wanting to ban Christmas lights, Cardwell has no mosque and if the town has an imam, they are not well known.

    For those interested, the council is currently running a Christmas lights competition.

    Link to Chronicle article:

  • Katherine Appello

    Lights between properties if dangerous then yes should be taken down, but if they have had them up for several years, and nothing was done, why now all of a sudden say something?

  • Brandon Johns

    I bet some atheist group is behind this.

  • Gary Ross Calvert

    I’ve seen photos of the light strands across the roads. Hard to tell what height. My feeling is if it is in fact (not “fact” as defined by liberals but truth instead) that there is a code that is being violated then:

    1. The letter should have (did?) clearly stated such and quoted the specific portion of code that is being violated.
    2. If it had been allowed for the 5 previous years, did someone change the code or what occurred to make it an issue now?
    3. If the code is not clear then I would argue precedent of the previous five years makes it permissible.

  • dirtybird

    County Code is therefore in violation of the 1st amendment prohibition on laws regarding the establishment of religion.

    People have a right to celebrate Christmas in accordance with their traditions. This county needs to be taken to court and taught a lesson in American jurisprudence.