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updated: 3/5/2013 3:07 PM

Aurora extends holiday decoration removal deadline

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Aurora is extending its deadline for taking down Christmas decorations because, of all things, snow.

The city prohibits residents from displaying outdoor decorations for more than 60 days before or after a holiday, meaning Feb. 25 was the original deadline for removing Christmas decor.

But spokesman Dan Ferrelli said Tuesday the deadline has been extended to March 18 because of several recent snowfalls that made it tougher to remove the items.

While other towns with decoration ordinances haven't extended their deadlines, code enforcement officials say they aren't exactly on the prowl to issue violations during snowy conditions.

"We have not extended our 90-day time frame, but we do give consideration for bad weather," Bartlett Community Development Director Jim Plonczynski said Tuesday as a steady snow fell. "If we see lights out there and it's like it is today, we're not making anybody remove them."

Bartlett follows the National Electrical Code, which suggests temporary electric fixtures be taken down after 90 days for safety reasons. Plonczynski said the clock starts ticking about the first week of January, making the first week of April the time by which decorations must be put away.

Elgin's decorations ordinance allows lights, signs or other decor associated with holidays to be displayed outside for not more than 60 days in a calendar year, said Vince Cuchetto, code enforcement manager.

Property inspectors are beginning to note where holiday lights still are displayed and are planning to send letters notifying residents they have 30 days to remove them without a fine.

In Aurora, where there are still some properties displaying Christmas decorations, inspectors will begin sending courtesy notices after the newly extended March 18 deadline. Ferrelli said the notices direct property owners to remove their decorations within 14 days or face a $50 fine. In the past, he said, the vast majority of residents have complied.

No notices have been sent yet, and the city has not received any complaints from neighbors tired of seeing Santa and his sleigh still on display, Ferrelli said.

This is at least the third time Aurora has extended its holiday light removal deadline. The most recent of those occasions came in 2011, when the third-largest snowstorm since 1886 slammed the region in early February with more than 20 inches of snow, drifts up to 10 feet and wind gusts up to 60 mph.

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