Orange County officials are trying to come up with a last-minute permit fix after ordering a neighborhood to remove Christmas lights that zigzag across a residential street.
County officials said the lights that stretch from roof to roof are a potential fire hazard and could make it difficult for emergency vehicles to navigate the quiet community.
But residents said the light display, which has taken over Drover Court in the Wagon Wheel neighborhood for the last five years, isn’t going anywhere, despite warnings that they could be fined or even prosecuted if they fail to remove them by Wednesday.
“It’s ridiculous,” said Jennifer Worthington, who lives on a nearby street but hosts a party every year just to tour the display. “Leave our lights alone.”
County officials, though, have been working on a last-minute fix make the lights legal.
Late Tuesday, Orange County Supervisor Pat Bates, who represents the area, said she and staff members may have come up with a solution.
The county has agreed to accept a permit application from a lighting contractor on behalf of all the homeowners on the street. The contractor was expected to submit an application Wednesday morning, ahead of the deadline, and county spokeswoman Nadia Haidar said it could be approved later in the week. By granting a permit, the county could inspect the lights and regulate the height of the lines that cross the street.
On Drover Court, residents said they were startled by the amount of bureaucracy involved in something as routine as holiday decorating.
“Like, really?” Christy Gruner said as a decorated palm tree glowed on the lawn behind her. “It’s just lights, people.”