Eucalyptus Street tradition perseveres despite changes in policy enforcement


Emma Scott

The houses on Eucalyptus Street feature bright lights to celebrate the holiday season.

The holiday lights tradition on Eucalyptus Street will continue to go undisturbed despite the confusion that arose around Halloween time.

In October of this year, residents of the Eucalyptus neighborhood received a letter from the City of San Carlos informing them that an already existing policy about the noise level, significant attractions, and maintaining private property would be enforced. This information confused some residents within the community. On NextDoor, many thought that the city was trying to restrict the neighboorhood’s traditions.

“These rules have been in place for a generation, but there has always been this unwritten exception for Eucalyptus Street. For multiple reasons, the city staff decided it was time to finally apply those rules,” said Mark Olbert, the San Carlos City mayor.

Over the years, complaints about the noise level and the commotion surrounding the area have increased. According to Olbert, after receiving many reasonable complaints, the city staff decided to announce that rules about the noise level and respecting private property would be enforced.

“We are now having a demonstratable series of negative effects on the residents. For example, a resident had just replanted her garden, and people were milling about her property, and they destroyed it. They were apologetic, but people don’t always think about that stuff. Effects like these have escalated in the past few years,” Olbert said.

Despite the challenges that come with living on a popular street, many members of the Eucalyptus community function on their own and work together to uphold the tradition.

“It tends to be a self-selecting group who wants to live there, but they are absolutely not required to participate. The truth is [that] people do it because they want to and because they want to support their neighbors, not because they are forced,” said Rachel de Brier, a former Eucalyptus Street resident.

De Brier described living there as a “magical place to be” but also mentioned that there was a significant amount of trash left behind, and dealing with the traffic was difficult as her kids got older.

Erika Nelson, a current resident of Eucalyptus, also had similar comments about the trash but also said that the residents have been working with the city to improve resources.

“The general principle of our legal system is that the Federal Constitution is subject to regulation. You don’t need to ask permission to do anything. That extends to how you choose to decorate your house or whether you decide to have a party. Roughly speaking, you get to do pretty much whatever you want unless you have a demonstrable negative effect on others,” Olbert said.

But confusion surrounding the lights and policies has settled down since Halloween, and residents nonetheless continue to hang extravagant Christmas lights.

“Now that it is Christmas, the lights are up. We have not had any issues with the city. Ideally, the city will continue to support the residents. The street continues to be fun, and I love our neighbors,” Nelson said.