The Frog House surf shop, the second-oldest surf shop in Orange County, might have to close its doors because of residential zoning laws.
The shop has been at its Newport Shores location since 1962. A few years later, in the 1970s, the land was zoned for residential-use only.
Because the business was already on the land, it was deemed a legal non-conforming use, City Atty. David Hunt said, meaning that they were openly using residential land for commercial use but the city did not pursue removal.
In 2006, Newport Beach was updating its general plan, which included taking action on zoning restrictions. Two years later, an ordinance passed that required the city to take action on Frog House and three other nonconforming properties in residential areas.
"[In 2008] the choice was that the commercial uses in residential uses have a year to abate or apply for appropriate modifications or permits, or they would have to leave their location," Hunt said.
Although the public has had access to the ordinance since 2008, Hunt said that the city did not contact Frog House directly when the change happened.
But, Hunt said, there are options for Frog House that wouldn't result in closing.
"They can seek an extension of the abatement period, which is a temporary extension determined by a hearing officer, or they can ask the City Council to amend the zoning," he said.
-- Joanne Clay