The legal battle of a holiday light display in Arcadia is back on, but the homeowner says he’s decorating this year no matter what.
Lee Sepanek has decorated his home for more than 30 years, attracting visitors from all over the Valley. His home went dark last season after traffic complaints, but then lawyers got involved when Sepanek was told he was violating City rules by selling hot cocoa to support the annual tradition.
“Under the mobile vending ordinance,” says Sepanek. “I think that’s the only thing they could come up with.”
Sepanek says he recently contacted his representation at the Goldwater Institute so he could begin planning the event this year, and Tuesday, it was discussed in a City Council executive session. Because the meeting happened behind closed doors, there is limited information on what the attorneys specifically discussed.
“I’m decorating, I’m definitely decorating,” says Sepanek, who has already begun designing this season’s display. “My wife is the color coordinator. My thing is the windows, that’s my art.”
Many of Sepanek’s neighbors did not want to speak on camera. One wished Sepanek “good luck” while another said, “It’s a free country.”
“I’m bummed I missed the opportunity last year to see it,” says Jake Arriola.
[READ MORE: Family fights to bring back holiday light display]
He moved in only a year ago but says he had always heard of the annual light tradition.
When the lights were turned off last season and a sign went up explaining the battle with the City, Arriola says he could see the effect on the community.
“I saw a bunch of families come up and read the sign and I saw some disappointment,” says Arriola. “I’d rather see the light show.”
“It got a little political and that was the part I wasn’t crazy about,” says Sepanek.
It’s unclear what will be determined at the City level, but Sepanek has already obtained a food handlers card, he hopes, will allow him to again serve up hot cocoa when lights go up. He says everyone is welcome to visit, even those neighbors who have complained in the past.
“My home is open, you know. I don’t have a sign out there selecting individuals,” says Sepanek. “Everyone is welcome.”
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