A neighborhood in Orange County, Calif., is brightly decorated with Christmas lights strung across the street—and that hasn't exactly put county officials in the holiday spirit. The lights pose a fire hazard and could prevent emergency vehicles from getting through, officials say, calling the decorations an "unpermitted encroachment" that must be taken down. Residents of Wagon Wheel are frustrated, and they've thus far refused. "It's just lights, people," says one. "This is America," grouses another.
Facing local anger, the county says it will help Wagon Wheel get a permit; it's also offering to drop permit fees and push back tonight's deadline for removal. The permit process, however, represents a headache in itself, the LA Times notes. "It would be unrealistic to have 34 different homeowners come and apply for a permit," says a county rep; it would be easier for the homeowners' association to take care of it. But the association isn't due to meet until next year.