Corona del Mar Today: Port Theater applies for conditional use permit

The New Port Theater — which opened briefly as a cafe in May before city officials shut it down — has applied for a conditional use permit that would allow eating, drinking, live entertainment and dancing, according to a city memo.

"The requested hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily," the city memo states. "A conditional use permit approval is also necessary to reduce the required parking through the approval of a parking management program because the subject property does not provide on-site parking."

The landmark theater at 2905 E. Coast Hwy. opened in April for the Newport Beach Film Festival. It then closed for restoration work to be completed.

In May, the theater's concessions opened as a coffee shop during morning hours. But because no movies were being shown at the time, the cafe was not in compliance with the theater's permits, and the cafe was closed after a complaint was made to city officials.

The permit question will go before the city's Planning Commission, said Mayor Nancy Gardner.

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One-way streets suggested

The Corona del Mar Residents Assn. board members last week discussed whether one-way streets should be implemented in some areas of the village, particularly in the flower streets north of East Coast Highway.

Mayor Nancy Gardner brought up the topic at the group's monthly board meeting at the OASIS Senior Center, telling the group that she has been receiving many emails from residents concerned about speeding cars and traffic congestion.

CdMRA President Karen Tringali said the association also had been receiving many concerned emails on the topic.

"I think it would be prudent to look at it," said board member Bruce Beardsley. "You have people blasting through. You have to virtually come to a stop."

Board members Barry Allen and Michael Toerge said they were opposed to making the flower streets one direction because past studies have shown that motorists would speed, and that tourists may become confused and drive the wrong way, causing crashes.

Other members wanted to pursue the matter, however.

"Maybe this would help alleviate the congestion there," member Bettye Butterworth said.

In the end, Gardner said she would ask City Manager Dave Kiff to examine how much cost would be associated with having staff research whether it's feasible to have one-way streets, perhaps on the north side of Coast Highway only.

At that point, she said, she would take the topic to the City Council to see if there was interest in pursuing the topic.

"Tourists don't tend to go that way," she said.

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Traffic study

A traffic study is underway, changing the flow into Corona del Mar on East Coast Highway between Acacia and Begonia avenues.

Delineator poles and paint have been added, and some parking spaces have been removed or moved as part of the study that will be in place until September, officials said.

Officials hope to analyze whether traffic is improved, or worsened, by moving the squeeze-lane, where three lanes merge to two, away from the MacArthur Boulevard intersection. The Corona del Mar Business Improvement District is paying for the study, which could pave the way for an entryway beautification project.

Newport Beach Traffic Engineer Tony Brine said the study would not include replacement of lost parking spaces, nor would it make Carnation Avenue one-way near the East Coast Highway intersection.

If the project goes forward, parking spaces would be replaced, city officials said. Carnation also could become one-way, at least for a block, to improve traffic flow.

Proponents of the entryway project believe that traffic will flow more smoothly when the squeeze lane is moved, although some members of the public have stated that they fear traffic will be worse than ever, particularly during crowded summer days.

The beautification project would take the former traffic lane and expand sidewalks and add landscaping.

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Coastline Car Classic charity dinner set for July 25

Tickets are on sale for a charity dinner hosted by the Corona del Mar Chamber of Commerce at Mastro's Ocean Club.

The July 25 event will kick off celebrations for the 2012 Coastline Car Classic, which will take place Sept. 9. Tickets cost $125 per person and include a four-course meal, wine and entertainment.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation, Chamber President Linda Leonhard said.

The event is in its fourth year and will sell out, Leonhard said. To reserve a seat, call (949) 673-4050. Mastro's is at 8112 E. Coast Hwy.

amy@coronadelmartoday.com

Twitter: @coronadelmartdy

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