Frog House likely OK, others maybe not

Businesses must go through a city process to try to stay in the residentially zoned areas.

October 19, 2010|By Mike Reicher,
  • Kris Wagoner sweeps the alley clean behind Frog House surf shop where a colorful mural adorns the wall.
Kris Wagoner sweeps the alley clean behind Frog House… (DON LEACH, Daily…)

NEWPORT BEACH — It looks like the legendary Frog House surf shop is going to survive the city's new zoning enforcement changes, but without the same outpouring of public support it received, some nearby businesses may not be able to stay in their residentially zoned areas.

A 22-year-old Balboa Peninsula tattoo parlor and a dentist who has been operating by Newport Harbor High School for almost 30 years are two examples of businesses that will also have to rely on the city to approve their commercial use.

Due to an unintended consequence of a 2008 ordinance that restricted rehab homes, the city is now forced to remove other types of businesses from residentially zoned districts. Some of these shops have been operating for decades. Now city officials, property owners and neighbors have to ask if businesses fit in their neighborhoods and if they should make some special accommodations.

"I don't think I'll have hordes of people demonstrating for me," said Arnold Frankenberger, whose dental office is attached to his home across Irvine Avenue from Newport Harbor High. "I'm trusting in the city to do something about it."


At the Oct. 12 City Council meeting, Councilman Steve Rosansky said the city is working with the Frog House to rezone its property. Dozens of supporters had called Rosansky and other city officials on the Frog House's behalf, and more than 10,000 supporters joined the shop's Facebook page.

Rosansky said that "T.K." Brimer, the owner of the shop and the property, needs to apply for a zoning change and an amendment to the general plan.

"Once he does that, and assuming it's approved, he will be able to continue operating in that location," Rosansky said at the meeting. In the meantime, Brimer and other property owners have filed requests with the city to delay enforcement of the zoning rules.

Brimer said that the city should treat the other businesses in his situation equally, regardless if they're selling surfboards, fixing teeth or injecting ink.

"I think they should all be treated fairly," he said. "We're all trying to make a living in this world, and we all chose different paths to do this."

Frankenberger has also applied for an extension to continue operating as a business, and is considering applying for the more permanent fix. But after 30 years of pulling patients' teeth, Frankenberger said he would consider retiring if the process doesn't work out.

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