Malarky's owner cancels bar's plans

NEWPORT BEACH — The owner of Malarky's Irish Pub on Tuesday night withdrew his application that sought to expand the bar's late-night occupancy.

Mario Marovic expressed gratitude to the council for working with him on the project, but concluded that he was not ready to move forward on the plans he described as "life-changing."

"A lot of good came out of the application process," Marovic said to the council, "and I was able to meet a lot of great people."

Mayor Mike Henn invited Marovic to revisit the expansion plans for Marlarky's in the future, but the businessman expressed doubt over the possibility.

Marovic's plans for his 35-year-old Balboa Peninsula pub, if approved, would have resulted in a maximum interior occupancy of 166 patrons and included an exterior patio, according to a city staff report.

At an April 26 meeting, officials and Marovic considered requiring that the pub continue food service until midnight, but end alcohol sales on the proposed patio at 11 p.m. The condition also blocked the entrance of new patrons at midnight.

Marovic's withdrawal Tuesday ends a process that began earlier this year, though his plans met some early neighborhood hostility. Some residents argued that expanding Malarky's would further saturate the amount of drinking establishments already in the area.

In other council news, officials unanimously passed the final approval for a zoning change that saves the iconic surf shop, the Frog House.

The zoning ordinance allows the Frog House, the Cat Protection Society and another commercial building to stay at their current sites in West Newport for the second time.

The "Loud and Unruly Gathering" ordinance was also finally approved, with Council Members Ed Selich and Leslie Daigle again dissenting. It imposes fines up to $3,000 for contributing or permitting parties deemed excessive. Selich cited reasons discussed at the May 10 meeting, in which concerns were expressed by the public that the ordinance would give police too much power and may lower homeowners' property values.

Officials also authorized the formation of a council redistricting committee. Henn appointed Council Members Steven Rosansky, Keith Curry and Mayor Pro Tem Nancy Gardner to the committee that occurs once every 10 years, after U.S. Census data are released. The city manager was also authorized to enter into a summer snack bar lease with Corona del Mar State Beach.

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