September 27, 2018
For one Phoenix homeowner, Christmas came early this year.
Goldwater Institute Director of National Litigation Jon Riches joined the radio show Wake Up! Tucson earlier this week to talk about that homeowner—Lee Sepanek. The owner of the famous Arcadia Christmas House, Sepanek had been decorating his home with holiday lights for more than 30 years and giving out hot chocolate to passersby. But in 2017, the city of Phoenix responded with a big “bah humbug,” threatening to shut his display down via a series of demands. Among these demands was a requirement that Sepanek obtain a special use permit to serve hot chocolate—a mixture of prepackaged hot chocolate powder and hot water. Faced with this red tape, Sepanek chose not to set up his famous display in 2017.
But earlier this month, following a request from Sepanek for clarification on what restrictions he would need to bring his display into compliance, the city of Phoenix assured “Christmas Lee” that he would be able to bring the decorations and the hot chocolate back this year without having to face unclear, indiscriminate requirements.
Listen to the full Wake Up! Tucson segment above (and be sure to check out Jon’s recent In Defense of Liberty post to learn more about the Sepanek story).