Newport council vote reorganizes City Attorney's office

NEWPORT BEACH — In a cost-saving move, the City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to reorganize the City Attorney's office.

The staffing changes eliminate three positions: two vacant administrative roles and one deputy city attorney. The deputy city attorney was retained as a contractor and the hiring of a new legal secretary was approved.

The council also granted a permit for a restaurant near the Balboa Pier, despite protests about adding another liquor license to the area. The former Bubbles Restaurant, 111 Palm Street, Balboa Blvd., can now be reopened as a dining and drinking establishment.

With a vacant building, owner Lone Oak Newport, LLC sought a permit to make the space more attractive to prospective tenants or those who would buy the building.

The Planning Commission approved the restaurant permit in September, but one of the building's neighbors appealed the decision, citing concerns about parking, noise and other issues.

The council voted 6 to 1 to uphold the approval, with Councilman Ed Selich dissenting.

"We have to walk the line here between bona fide restaurants that are good for the community [that happen to] sell liquor," said Mayor Mike Henn.

Alcohol came up in another agenda item when the Balboa Performing Arts Theater requested to be exempt from the alcohol sale ban in a city park. The theater, a nonprofit, plans to hold a fundraiser this fall in Peninsula Park, near the Balboa Pier.

The council voted unanimously to grant an exception for the theater.

Twitter: @mreicher

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