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Corona del Mar Today: Port Theater applies for conditional use permit

June 30, 2012
  • Film lovers wait in line at the renovated Port Theater in Corona del Mar, which was reopened during this year's Newport Beach Film Festival.
Film lovers wait in line at the renovated Port Theater… (KEVIN CHANG, Daily…)

The New Port Theater — which opened briefly as a cafe in May before city officials shut it down — has applied for a conditional use permit that would allow eating, drinking, live entertainment and dancing, according to a city memo.

"The requested hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily," the city memo states. "A conditional use permit approval is also necessary to reduce the required parking through the approval of a parking management program because the subject property does not provide on-site parking."

The landmark theater at 2905 E. Coast Hwy. opened in April for the Newport Beach Film Festival. It then closed for restoration work to be completed.

In May, the theater's concessions opened as a coffee shop during morning hours. But because no movies were being shown at the time, the cafe was not in compliance with the theater's permits, and the cafe was closed after a complaint was made to city officials.

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The permit question will go before the city's Planning Commission, said Mayor Nancy Gardner.

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One-way streets suggested

The Corona del Mar Residents Assn. board members last week discussed whether one-way streets should be implemented in some areas of the village, particularly in the flower streets north of East Coast Highway.

Mayor Nancy Gardner brought up the topic at the group's monthly board meeting at the OASIS Senior Center, telling the group that she has been receiving many emails from residents concerned about speeding cars and traffic congestion.

CdMRA President Karen Tringali said the association also had been receiving many concerned emails on the topic.

"I think it would be prudent to look at it," said board member Bruce Beardsley. "You have people blasting through. You have to virtually come to a stop."

Board members Barry Allen and Michael Toerge said they were opposed to making the flower streets one direction because past studies have shown that motorists would speed, and that tourists may become confused and drive the wrong way, causing crashes.

Other members wanted to pursue the matter, however.

"Maybe this would help alleviate the congestion there," member Bettye Butterworth said.

In the end, Gardner said she would ask City Manager Dave Kiff to examine how much cost would be associated with having staff research whether it's feasible to have one-way streets, perhaps on the north side of Coast Highway only.

At that point, she said, she would take the topic to the City Council to see if there was interest in pursuing the topic.

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