Woody's Wharf challenges ban in court

Woody's Wharf filed court papers Wednesday seeking to invalidate a City Council decision to ban dancing at the longtime Balboa Peninsula restaurant, court records show.

Woody's filed what's known as a writ of mandate — a directive seeking to stop a government action — against the city and Councilman Mike Henn, according to Orange County Superior Court Records.

The legal move comes after the Newport Beach City Council officially denied Woody's Wharf several requests on Tuesday, including an extension of its patio hours until 2 a.m. and to permit dancing inside.

In the mandate, Woody's Wharf takes issue with Henn's appeal of a September decision by the Planning Commission, which had granted many of Woody's Wharf's requests. His appeal brought the issue to the Council for its initial reivew on Oct. 8.

The document states that Henn managed to file the appeal using "his influence on the city clerk," and without paying an allegedly required filing fee.

City Attorney Aaron Harp found no merit in these claims.

"It's very clear that case law support a council member in calling the matter up for review," he said, adding that no one has ever paid a fee to do so.

Representatives of Woody's Wharf could not immediately be reached by phone for comment.

—Emily Foxhall

Twitter: @emfoxhall

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