NEWPORT BEACH — The Newport Beach Planning Commission approved the Frog House and nearby businesses' applications Thursday night to change their properties' zoning, and if the City Council agrees, the businesses will be able to stay.
The nearly 50-year-old surf shop and its eccentric owner T.K. Brimer drew about 30 supporters to the Council Chambers, but none of them spoke because the commissioners approved the application without contention.
"Our focus has always been to do the right thing for the city and the individual," commission Chairman Earl McDaniel said after Frog House fans applauded.
A city law intended to displace some drug recovery homes from residential neighborhoods also affects the surf shop, an animal shelter and a party planning store along West Coast Highway near the border of Huntington Beach. As it stands, the zoning on that stretch is for residential uses only.
The commissioners voted unanimously to change the Frog House's zoning to mixed-use, which would allow Brimer to build an apartment above the store. He said his daughter and son-in-law live in a home behind the shop, and he dreamed of a day when he could live above it and oversee its operation.
The shop's predicament came to light in September and supporters flocked online, creating a Facebook page to "save the Frog House."
Brimer on Thursday thanked his supporters outside the Council Chambers.
"This is just the first step," he said, encouraging them to come to the as-yet-to-be-determined council meeting when the application will be up for a vote.