Neighborhood fights back after threats of fines over Christmas lights

10:17 AM, Dec 4, 2013   |    comments
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TRABUCO CANYON ( - Some South Orange County residents are fighting back after the county threatened to fine them if they did not remove their neighborhood's Christmas lights, which authorities say are a safety hazard.

For five years, neighbors in the Wagon Wheel neighborhood of Trabuco Canyon have strung Christmas lights between their homes, with 35 houses participating in the tradition this year.

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On Nov. 27, Orange County Public Works sent letters to some homeowners stating they will be fined or prosecuted if they don't remove their lights.

"I thought it was ridiculous. It just didn't make any sense to us, and they gave us no out, so we were all pretty outraged," said resident Brian Kopiec, who said the lights represent unity in the neighborhood.

Residents fought back after receiving the letter. Neighbor Dannielle Jubb handed out permits to fill out Tuesday night in hopes of resolving the dispute.

The county provided CBS affiliate KCAL9 with a statement that read in part:

"The county requires an encroachment permit to be issued before any installation of any nature can be constructed can be constructed across, upon, in or under a county roadway."

According to Jubb, a fire inspector visited the neighborhood Tuesday and said the lights meet the proper requirements.

"We actually saw how when people band together we can make change, and we did make some change," Kopiec said.

The permits are due Wednesday and the county says an inspector will be on the scene to make sure the lights meet the regulations.

"It's nice to know that we were able to make sure that this tradition continues," Jubb said. "And I hope next that it will even be better than this year." 

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