Corona del Mar Today: Lack of support dooms ZeroTrash effort

For five months, the first Saturday of the month has brought red-shirted volunteers to Corona del Mar to clean up trash as part of a ZeroTrash campaign.

But this weekend, organizers said, they won't return.

"We simply couldn't get any community support," said Chip McDermott, founder of the Laguna Beach-based ZeroTrash organization. "Very few CdM locals volunteered on 1st Saturdays."

ZeroTrash will continue its efforts on the Balboa Peninsula.

The group launched its Corona del Mar cleanups in June. Volunteers each received a breakfast burrito from El Ranchito, a red T-shirt and a trash picker.

Organizers said there was little community involvement over the summer, but they hoped that more volunteers would show up as residents heard about it.

Instead, McDermott said the number of volunteers "embarrassed" him.

*Residents: Clean up after your pets

The Corona del Mar Residents Assn. this week updated its website with a reminder for residents to clean up after their dogs.

"Ever go out to pick up your morning paper only to find that someone has left their dogs' feces there for you to pick up?" the website says. "Ever tried to get rid of those burned and yellow spots in your yard caused by dog urine? Do you worry about where it's safe for you and your family to sit when you head over to Inspiration Point or the Bluffs for a picnic or to enjoy the sunset?"

Association President Karen Tringali said the post came in response to a recent influx of calls and emails complaining about dogs making messes.

*Homeowners appeal Planning Commission decision

A couple has filed an appeal of a recent Planning Commission decision not to allow them to merge lots on Ocean Boulevard, city officials confirmed.

John and Julie Guida filed the appeal with the Newport Beach city clerk, and the City Council will hold a public hearing that has not yet been scheduled.

The Guidas own two homes in the 2800 block of Ocean Boulevard and have submitted plans to build a single home. In September, the city's zoning administrator granted them a lot merger, but in a 6-1 vote Oct. 20, the commission overturned that decision.

Neighbors have said that the planned home would violate a 1951 agreement that limits to one story the height of three Ocean Boulevard lots, and several neighbors testified that their views would be obliterated by the new home.

The city's Planning Department has the plans, but no building permit will be issued unless the council approves the lot merger, said city spokeswoman Tara Finnigan.

"The property owner understood that at the time they submitted plans into the Building Division," she said in an email.

*Goodbye to Botts' Dots

Crews have begun removing Botts' Dots — raised bumps meant to calm traffic — in Corona del Mar because of concerns about the safety of bicyclists.

The dots issue came up earlier this month at the Newport Beach Bicycle Safety Committee meeting, when Corona del Mar resident Frank Peters asked if the dots could be removed from the road to Big Corona State Beach and along Bayside Drive.

At that meeting, Mayor Pro Tem Nancy Gardner said the dots near the beach were added several years ago as a deterrent to skateboarders. The committee agreed to have staff look into removing the dots.

Crews on Thursday began removing some of the dots near Big Corona beach, and they would complete the Bayside Drive removal by the end of next week, said city spokeswoman Tara Finnigan.

"On the ramp, it's been determined that the markers do alert motorists to the existing conditions (steep grade, sharp curves), so they've opted to remove the markers located in the outside half of the lanes to allow for bicycle and motorcycle passage," she said in an email.

The Bayside Drive dots will be completely removed, she said.

Peters wrote in the bikeNewportBeach blog that he didn't think city staff was listening when he first voiced his concerns.

"[F]or cyclists, these bumps in the roadway represent a significant hazard; they could cause a fall and on the narrow downhill road that could be very dangerous," Peters wrote.

*No Pop Up Store this year

The Pop Up Store that sold gifts, many created by local vendors, during the 2010 holiday season will not return to Corona del Mar this year, creator Jessica Frandson has confirmed.

"I am absolutely swamped, and there was no way to do it," she said in a recent interview.

Frandson, who created the Twistband hair accessory company in her Corona del Mar home in 2008, said she's been overwhelmed by the success of the business, which has exploded in the past several months.

"We've expanded our business globally," she said. "This summer, we launched in Japan, and we've sold 80,000 sets in five months."

The Pop Up Store opened in October 2010 at 2747 E. Coast Hwy., the former location of Athleticism. Frandson took over the lease and filled the store with gifts priced from $5 to $50, including toys, candy, rings made from melted Crayons and more. The shop closed by Christmas Eve.

In February, the Party all the Time shop opened in the former Pop Up shop space, selling party supplies and gifts.

amy@coronadelmartoday.com

Twitter: @coronadelmartdy

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