Frog House hopes for a zoning change

The legendary surf shop, the Frog House, is one step closer to salvation.

The Newport Beach shop’s owner and other nearby property owners have applied to change the city’s Coastal Land Use Plan so they can remain at their Upper West Newport locations.

City officials mailed notices to other government agencies earlier this month, notifying them of the application. It ultimately has to be approved by the California Coastal Commission.

Property owners want to change the zoning to allow for commercial buildings or mixed-use buildings on their land, in order to allow their businesses to stay. The others who applied own the Cat Protection Society building and a retail building that used to house the Green Room Surf Shop.

City officials said there will be a public hearing soon on the issue, and both the City Council and the Coastal Commission have to sign off on the new zoning.

As it stands, the zoning is for residential uses only. That classification was made in 1973, but was not enforced until a 2008 law passed that was intended to force some drug and alcohol rehabilitation homes out of areas incompatible with their use.

As an unintended consequence, the nearly 50-year-old surf shop found itself out of compliance and risked closure. Their predicament came to light in September and throngs of supporters flocked online, creating a Facebook page to “save the Frog House.”

Councilman Steve Rosansky, who represents the area, said in October that the city would help the store’s owner T.K. Brimer apply for a zoning change.