Loving holiday displays gone wrong

February 24, 2011|By Barbara Diamond

Some residents of Arch Beach Heights think it was heartless of the city to force the removal of a Valentine's Day display in their neighborhood.

The removal of a lighted heart displayed at a home on Oro Street is based on a section of the city code that forbids holiday decorations or lighting between Jan. 15 and Nov. 15. City officials said Tuesday the code will not be enforced in residential neighborhoods until further direction from the council.

"Everyone living on Del Mar who looked out at the heart — well, all but one — expressed their delight with the heart and other decorations on the corner," Arch Beach Heights property owner Lyn Steg told the City Council at the Feb. 15 meeting. "All that live on Oro Street, some living on Noria and Miramar, told me they loved the display.


"One man who lives down on La Mirada told me that he drove his houseguests up to see the heart. It was one of the sights he wanted to share while they visited Laguna."

Annette Wimmer-Huling, who lives on the corner of Del Mar and Oro, across the street from the property where the red heart pulsed with lights, does not share the sentiments voiced by Steg.

"It is in my view corridor," said Wimmer-Huling, who has lived in her home with her husband, Paul, for 30 years. "This has been going on for 14 years. From Nov. 15 to Jan. 15, we have to look at three Christmas trees at least 15 feet tall with blinking lights. I would appreciate it they were not in my ocean view, but I can tolerate them. Everybody puts things up for the holidays."

What she says she cannot tolerate is the heart blinking in her view for six weeks, followed by shamrocks and Easter eggs.

"I think they could put up decorations the day before a holiday, leave it up for the holiday and take it down the day after the holiday," Wimmer-Huling said. "They could even blink if they were out of my view."

Wimmer-Huling said she left a note at the house city records show is owned by Adrian Van Deudekom, asking that the heart be moved to a different location out of her ocean view, but failed to receive a response.

Then she appealed to the city.

"I said I was at my wit's end," Wimmer-Huling said. "The next thing I knew the heart was down."

She thinks the code section regulating holiday decorations is a good thing.

"I will never put up again with anything in my ocean view," Wimmer-Huling said.

She resents being made out to be the bad guy.

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