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NEWPORT BEACH : Panel Drafts Plan to Upgrade Peninsula

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Convert storefronts to homes and bed-and-breakfasts. Ban alcohol sales after midnight and limit the number of liquor outlets. And reward shoppers with parking validations instead of $6 fees.

Those are among the 15 suggestions a panel of Balboa Peninsula business leaders have offered in an effort to revitalize the commercial district.

The plan to make the peninsula both more livable and more profitable could take up to 20 years to complete, said Fritz Duda, head of the City Council-appointed Balboa Peninsula Planning Advisory Committee.

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The panel, made up of commercial property owners, merchants and Planning Commissioner Anne Gifford, turned over its recommendations Monday to the council. Assistant City Manager Ken Delino will study the plan and report within 60 days.

A key part of the plan is offering incentives for small commercial property owners to convert their storefronts to homes or bed-and-breakfast inns.

Other elements include:

* A midnight curfew on alcohol sales and reducing the overall number of alcohol vendors. Duda said the peninsula has a higher ratio of liquor stores, bars, restaurants and night clubs that sell liquor than the rest of the city, and liquor consumption is often a factor in crime rates.

* Building a police substation and increasing police patrols. Duda said 46% of all city are made on the peninsula.

* Changing parking patterns by offering residents permit-only and other preferential parking; offering shoppers parking validations to offset $6 parking fees and putting time limits on parking spaces near shops to discourage all-day use.

* Making restaurants more accessible from the bay so that boaters can come ashore to shop and dine.

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