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Owner wants permit for fireplace

The topography of his backyard and lack of neighbors is reason enough for modification permit.

October 08, 2010|By Joanna Clay, joanna.clay@latimes.com
  • Salvatore Ferragamo, Chef Jamie Gwen and Antonio Cagnolo, owner of Antonello Ristorante at South Coast Village.
Salvatore Ferragamo, Chef Jamie Gwen and Antonio Cagnolo,… (HAND IN, Daily Pilot )

A Newport Beach homeowner's modification permit is up for discussion at Tuesday's City Council meeting.

The name might sound familiar to fans of Italian fare.

When Antonio Cagnolo, owner of Antonello Ristorante at South Coast Village, recently built a covered patio area and an outdoor fireplace in the backyard of his Cliff Drive home, the fireplace did not comply with city zoning codes. He's applying for the permit to allow it to stay on the property.

Newport Beach Planning Director James Campbell said the entire patio structure was initially debated, but Cagnolo agreed to reconstruct it in a conforming fashion, therefore the only structure needing relief is the fireplace because it was built on the setback — the land that edges up against the property line and is not allowed to be developed.

Another issue is the height. The fireplace is 14 feet tall, which is 8 feet taller than what the interim zoning code allows. The code, which is being updated, stipulates that the fireplace can be no higher than 6 feet above natural grade.

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Campbell said the height isn't what concerns the city.

"It's really the location of the fireplace," he said. "It's not allowed in the setback area."

Even if the future zoning code didn't allow the height, once OK'd, Cagnolo would be good to go.

"Once it's approved, it's approved," Campbell said.

Cagnolo must address three requirements to appeal for a modification permit, Campbell said.

The first is proving that there are practical difficulties associated with the property and that by abiding strictly to zoning code, Cagnolo will undergo physical hardship.

The second requirement is compatibility with the neighborhood. The third is that it is not detrimental to the neighborhood.

Bror Monberg of Bror Monberg Architects, which drafted the drawings of the fireplace, said the Cagnolo property has faced various hardships with his backyard due to the disadvantageous topography of his land.

"In Antonio's case, the existing hardship was that the whole corner of his yard was unusable and he wanted to develop it," the Newport Beach-based architect said.

In 1995, Cagnolo applied for modification permits so he could build a deck. He was granted those permits.

"The original intent of the modification was to allow him to use that deck portion of property as anyone else would be able to," Monberg said.

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