and Video Courtesy of Fox News
December 18, 2009
PALM HARBOR - Christmas is still a week away, and
yet hundreds of twinkling little lights could going dim in the Alderman
The homeowner's association in this small 52-home
enclave is ordering residents to remove decorations from the community
|"I think they look
beautiful," said Georgia Brooker, a volunteer who
helped install the modest display using some
association-owned lights. "We can't keep them up? I
think it's ridiculous."
Residents were warned by certified
letter, sent from an attorney hired by the association, that
they have until Saturday to take down the lights or they
could get sued.
"Threatening us to remove the
Christmas lights just before Christmas was kinda a shock to
me," said resident John Cocca, who received one of the
Association President Don Lichniak said there is
nothing wrong with the lights. After serving as president for the past
seven years, and pins the decoration dispute on a violation of protocol.
"They didn't ask to put up the lights," he
said. "If they would have asked me, there wouldn't be a problem. I
would have said, 'Yeah we'll join in with you.'"
Lichniak insists the lights must come down.
"We have to do it the right way," he said.
Brooker and Cocca say they will comply because they
don't want to go to court.
What happens after that?
"There will be lights put back up," said
Lichniak, the association president.
So, after all the hand wringing and letter writing,
the entrance will be decorated for Christmas.
Many Alderman Ridge residents are puzzled.
"I don't see the point," said Cocca.
"I really don't."
Volunteers vow to install lights again next year.
But they don't think they'll face the same challenge, since they predict a
change in leadership when the association holds a community election in