Holiday Light Curfews Upset Festive Residents

The sparkling homes attract thousands of visitors each year

By Tony Shin and Christina Cocca
|  Wednesday, Dec 4, 2013  |  Updated 6:34 AM PDT
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Some people in the Inland Empire are angry about a new restriction to a popular neighborhood display. Holiday light displays have attracted thousands to Rancho Cucamonga for years, but now some say the city wants the switch turned off for good. Tony Shin reports from Rancho Cucamonga for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013.

Tony Shin

Some people in the Inland Empire are angry about a new restriction to a popular neighborhood display. Holiday light displays have attracted thousands to Rancho Cucamonga for years, but now some say the city wants the switch turned off for good. Tony Shin reports from Rancho Cucamonga for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013.

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Residents of a Southern California neighborhood feel the city is trying to hit the off-switch on their mega-popular holiday season light display.

The sparkling-light-draped homes in Rancho Cucamonga have drawn thousands of visitors to the community about 40 miles east of downtown Los Angeles every year for the last two decades -- those crowds being one reason for law enforcement officials to initiate a curfew and rules for spectators to follow.

"If we did have an emergency, how would anyone get to us in an emergency vehicle?" resident Cindy Munoz said. "Because we don’t have sidewalks, people are forced to be in the street."

In recent years, city officials ordered temporary parking restrictions on the more crowded streets, closed pedestrian traffic at 9 p.m. on weekdays and by 10 p.m. on weekends.

Residents are also being encouraged by officials to turn off the display lights to stop any late-night traffic.

"I don't know why people can't kind of cope with the holiday season and enjoy it," resident Mike Kleine said.

Even with the rules, sheriff’s deputies admit they can only encourage people to leave rather than demand, since the holiday lights are on public streets.

"We’re going to ask them and encourage that they please be respectful of the neighborhood," Riverside County Sheriff’s Sgt. Phill Dupper said.

Some residents feel they are being unfairly targeted and plan to keep their holiday display shining bright all night long.

"We have visitors coming from as far as Palm Springs and Lancaster and Murrieta,” resident Kim Earl told NBC4. "The residents feel that the city would rather have this go away, and we don't want it to go away."

Calls to city officials were not immediately returned. Deputies will begin enforcing the curfews Dec. 13.

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