Frog House saved

party law passes

Newport Beach City Council OKs zoning change for surf shop, passes 'Loud and Unruly Gathering' ordinance with some tweaks.

May 11, 2011|By Mike Reicher,

NEWPORT BEACH — More than 100 surfers swelled the City Council Chambers on Tuesday as the council voted to allow their beloved shop, the Frog House, to remain in business.

By unanimously approving a zoning change for the store's West Newport property, the council caused cheers from the crowd.

"I'm stoked," shop owner T.K. Brimer said after the vote. "The city has treated us very well at every step."

The 50-year-old shop, the Cat Protection Society and another commercial building were caught up in a zoning law intended to reduce the number of drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities in residential neighborhoods. Their properties happened to be in residential zones, according to old city maps.

Councilman Steve Rosansky, who represents the area and who previously spoke in favor of the shop, abstained from voting because he owns property nearby.


Some of the supporters passed out bright orange and black hats before the meeting that read "Save the Frog House" or "I Love the Frog House."

Barry Scott, 53, came to the meeting to speak, but then decided not to when it was clear that the council was going to approve the change. He said he's had been visiting the Frog House for 40 years.

"I think it's the best thing the city could do, because it's a historical, cultural and definitely colorful part of Newport Beach."

Brimer said that at times during the months-long process, he suspected a zoning action against the Frog House was part of a larger plan to homogenize Newport Beach, and to get rid of some of the older properties in West Newport.

"I hope this will cause the city to realize that we don't all want Newport Beach to look like Newport Coast," he said.


Party Ordinance

The council also passed the "Loud and Unruly Gathering" ordinance, which will impose fines on partygoers, renters and landlords who contribute to or allow excessively rowdy parties.

But instead of posting a bright red placard on the door of a violating house for six months, the council changed the law so it would be a black-and-white notice that would stay up for three months only.

It also reduced the maximum fine from $8,000 to $3,000.

If officers observe a party with eight or more, where people are urinating in public, drunk in public, excessively noisy, serve alcohol to minors or display other behaviors, they will be able to post a notice on the door and issue violations.

"We're changing the culture here. We're not going to allow this to be a party town," said Police Chief Jay Johnson.

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