CdM Today

City Promises Oasis Palms Won't Block Views

Neighbors who live above the new Oasis Center have one less thing to worry about after City Council members agreed not to let King Palm trees grow tall enough to block ocean views.

The trees, worth between $50,000 and $60,000, caused some homeowners in the Harbor View Hills South neighborhood to worry that they would grow and block views. The City Council discussed the issue at its July 6 Study Session.

"Slowly but surely, my view of old Corona del Mar is diminishing," said Jim Digrado, who lives on Sandcastle Drive overlooking the senior center that is being built at Marguerite and Fifth avenues. "My view has slowly diminished because of city trees."

Project architects, landscapers and city staff members told council members that they were able to buy 26 King Palm trees from a San Diego estate. The trees average about 30 to 40 years old with a lifespan of 70 to 80 years, and while in their native Australian rainforest they might grow to 40 feet, locally they likely would not grow taller than 30 feet.

Neighbors who testified said they would prefer having a written document, promising that the city would replace the trees if in fact nature took its course and the trees grew taller than expected.

City Councilwoman Nancy Gardner said she thought this was fair, and Mayor Keith Curry asked the city attorney to draft a letter to send to impacted homeowners associations, promising that the city would replace the trees if and when they affected views.

Councilman Ed Selich said that palm trees are so valuable that the city could likely make a profit if they ever did try to sell trees because they were too tall for the neighborhood.

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International Real Estate Office To Open Corona del Mar Branch

An international real estate company that specializes in luxury homes is moving into the former Belmaison space at 3636 E. Coast Hwy.

Engel & Volkers will open by mid-August, associate broker Gil Wenck said.

Wenck said the company was founded in 1977 and is based in Hamburg, Germany. Engel & Volkers has 405 offices in 35 countries on five continents, he said, and began opening offices in the United States about five years ago on the East Coast. California offices began opening last September, and the Corona del Mar branch will be about the 20th, including an office on Balboa Island and one in Irvine.

Wenck said when he lists a home, it is marketed worldwide, including in a magazine published in five languages with 600,000 readers. Images of local homes will be featured on storefronts throughout the world, and they can help local residents find villas in Spain and Italy or apartments and homes nearly anywhere in the world.

"No one else can match that," he said.

The Corona del Mar office will have about 12 employees, he said.

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'Top Chef' contestant to appear at library

Dave Martin of "Top Chef" fame will be appearing at the Newport Beach Central Library in October, and you can be one of the first fans to register to see him by attending the July 20 "What's Cooking At the Library" event, organizers said.

Orange County Register food writer and chef Cathy Thomas will appear at the July 20 event, and she'll be focusing on summer produce as she whips up summer salads and fruit desserts. Thomas is the author of two cookbooks, including a book published this spring in conjunction with Melissa's Produce, "Melissa's Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce."

Chef Martin's appearance is scheduled for Oct. 19. He is well known from his appearance in the first season of the Bravo show "Top Chef."

The library is located at 1000 Avocado Ave.

The event costs $20 (and includes samples), and you must be 21 or older to attend, according to the library's website. The site also gives information on how to register.

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Corona del Mar rep hangs with Food TV star

Chamber of Commerce President Linda Leonhard had a chance to hang out with Food Network's Guy Fieri during All Star Week celebrations.

"He is really a cool guy and just as fun in person," Leonhard said. Fieri won the second season of "The Next Food Network Star" and hosts the show "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives." He was in Orange County this week to participate in Sunday's Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game at Angels Stadium, and during his visit he toured Newport Beach.

CdMHS Volunteers Needed For Back-To-School Tasks

It may be the thick of summer vacation, but the school year is around the corner, and Corona del Mar High School is seeking volunteers to help with preparations.

Parent and student volunteers are sought to help distribute fall registration packets for the middle school and high school. Morning shifts run from 8:30 a.m. to noon, and afternoon shifts from 1 to 3 p.m. on Aug. 2 and Aug. 3.

Parents and student volunteers also are needed to help with student registration, schedule verification, I.D. photos, locker assignments and textbook distribution. Morning shifts run from 7:45 to 11:30, and afternoon shifts run from 12:45 to 3 p.m. on Aug. 24 and Aug. 25.

"Please consider giving a few hours of your time to help the school year start successfully!" states an e-mail from the school's Parent-Teacher Association. "All student volunteers will earn community service hours for their time."

To sign up, e-mail Signe Dunn Trauthen at signedunn@cox.netif.

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China Cove Seawall Gets Coastal Commission OK

The California Coastal Commission earlier this month voted unanimously to allow a China Cove homeowner make repairs to a seawall that failed last summer, causing the foundation of his house to cave in during a remodel.

In the July meeting held in Santa Rosa, the commissioners this morning agreed to place the item on the consent calendar. There was no other discussion about the plans submitted by homeowner Harley Broviak, who wants to repair the seawall on his Cove Street home.

The house nearly caved in completely last July when a crack in the seawall allowed sand to filter out, leaving a gaping hole under the home's foundation. City crews responded within hours, using slurry and boards to keep the house from falling down completely.

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