Hearts May Prevail

Laytham Jacoby with his code-violating decoration. His plight is forcing a review of restrictions. Photo: Ted Reckas.

Outside holiday decorations, including large, lighted Valentine’s Day hearts, that are displayed on days other than during the City Hall-designated time frame of Nov. 15 to Jan. 15 may be allowed without penalty under city code.

The city is considering revamping its residential outdoor display codes after Lyn Steg of Oro Street pointed out to the council that most members of her Arch Beach Heights neighborhood enjoyed the large lighted Valentine’s heart on the corner of Oro and Del Mar streets. The homeowners, Laytham Jacoby and Adrian Vaudeudekom, who have displayed various holiday decorations for 14 years, received a letter from the city’s code enforcement office two weeks ago ordering the removal of the display.  The letter was precipitated by a complaint.

“Everyone on Del Mar, everyone on Del Mar, looking out at that Valentine’s heart displayed on the corner with, of course, the exception of one, expressed their delight at the decoration.  Everyone on Oro Street loved it,” espoused Steg.  “I’d just like to know if we can we continue to put up our decorations without being fined?”

Councilman Kelly Boyd, saying he was irritated by the city’s threat to cite the homeowners, brought the item up for council action.

“Laguna is a place where we’re supposed to be able to express ourselves,” commented Boyd.  “We are finding more and more rules to stop people from expressing themselves.  If we need to make the change so these people can do this, then let’s make the change.”

City Manager John Pietig said he’d prefer to establish dates around specific holidays than issue special permits for decorative outdoor displays in residential areas.  He told the council he will research other cities’ decisions on lawn decorations and lights for other than the Christmas holiday season and present his findings on possible new allowances at upcoming city council agenda.

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  1. The city is considering a test run regarding parking changes near Mozambique. Why not a test run regarding holiday decorations? Drop the damn regulation and see what happens. Wait! We’ve already done that. There has been NO enforcement of this regulation regarding Hallowe’en lights and decorations and there has been NO problem. Those white light tree decorations are staying up all year and are causing NO problem. Frankly, I think it would be nothing other than fun if someone put up Christmas decorations in July! Is the city council jealous of the powers of those Homeowner Associations in Laguna Niguel and Mission Viejo?
    Frankly, I love Laguna because it LACKS the uniformity of those places. I realize that communities can look trashy if they are allowed to go to seed. But, Holiday Lights????
    This is just stupid as applied to non-commercial homes. I think that stores that put up Christmas lights in September are pushing it and I hate it, but we don’t need to make laws about it!


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