Ongoing Battle Over Arizona Holiday Lights Resumes, Homeowner To Decorate

A legal battle over holiday light displays in Arcadia is still ongoing, and has recently heated up as the homeowner says he plans to decorate no matter what.

Lee Sepanek, an Arcadia resident, says that he has decorated his home for over 30 years. His display attracts visitors from all over the Valley. However, his home was forced to go dark last season after both traffic complaints in the area, as well as being told he had violated city rules by selling hot cocoa to support the annual tradition at his home.

Sepanek says the City says he violated the “mobile vending ordinance,” and that it seemed like that was “the only thing that could come up with.” Sepanek also says he recently contacted his own representation at the Goldwater Institute, in order to begin planning the event for this upcoming year. Last week a discussion was held during a city council executive session. The meeting happened behind closed doors, so there is not very much information on what was discussed. 

Sepanek is still adamant, despite what’s happening in city council, he definitely plans on decorating, and has already started designing this year’s holiday display. Most of Sepanek’s neighbors seem not to want to get involved. One wished him “good luck” and another simply noted “It’s a free country.” Jake Arriola, a fellow resident, said last year he missed the display and disappointed. Last year when Sepanek was forced to darken his home and put up a sign explaining the battle with the city, the annual tradition had an effect on the community. Arriola said he saw several families come up to the house and walk away in disappointment. Sepanek says that the politics were the part he wasn’t fond of. In order to prepare for this upcoming season, Sepanek has obtained a food handler’s card, and is hoping that will allow him to serve hot cocoa this year when the lights go on. He says that everyone is welcome to his holiday display, even those neighbors who have complained in the past. 

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