Party ordinance, budget, Frog House on Newport council's agenda

Newport Beach's City Council meeting could either be loud and unruly Tuesday or just long and tedious.

The council will again consider a proposed ordinance that would fine partygoers up to $3,000 — and $8,000 on the Fourth of July — if they are caught acting "loud or unruly" at a violating party. The law is intended to crack down on gatherings in West Newport that get out of hand, especially around Independence Day, council members said.

But the law would apply to all parts of the city, which is why council members Leslie Daigle and Ed Selich oppose it. Other council members have said that the fines may be too steep, and may suggest lowering them at the meeting. Residents have either praised the ordinance or questioned its effects on homeowners.

Also on the agenda is the council's first public consideration of the 2011-12 fiscal year. In the study session, which begins at 2 p.m. and may last until 6 p.m. or longer, Finance Director Tracy McCraner and City Manager Dave Kiff will present their proposed budget.

They outlined their goals in April: to cut about $9.2 million annually to save money for capital improvement projects and to stave off rising pension costs. About 25 employees may be laid off.

Lifeguards are being considered for cuts, and the Municipal Operations Department, which maintains streets, parks, beaches and other public areas, may also be affected.

The Frog House's rezoning application will come before the council as well Tuesday. Council members were sympathetic the last time they heard about the issue.

The Frog House, the Cat Protection Society and another nearby building all applied to allow their existing land use. A law intended to restrict some drug and alcohol rehabilitation homes in residential neighborhoods caught up the surf shop, whose commercial use doesn't conform with the area's zoning.

Before sailing through last month's Planning Commission hearing, shop owner T.K. Brimer said he planned to recruit throngs of supporters to come to the council meeting.

With its approval from the Coastal Commission and acceptance from the Port of Long Beach to take contaminated sediment, the council is likely to approve a $3.4-million contract to begin dredging the Rhine Channel. The Dutra Group, a Northern California-based contractor, bid about 19% under the city's estimates, according to a staff report.

Also on the agenda is Malarky's Irish Pub's expansion, but City Manager Dave Kiff wrote in a newsletter last week that Malarky's has requested that the council postpone its vote on the issue. In April, the council heard testimony about why Malarky's should or should not be allowed to increase its occupancy late at night. The bar on Newport Boulevard plans to add a patio and sit-down dining, which would nearly double its occupancy.

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