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Landmark OC surf shop may be forced to close

October 4, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
TK Brimer knows his surf boards. He owns the Frog House Surf Shop in Newport Beach, which has been in business for decades.The bright green frog mural has been a familiar sight along Pacific Coast Highway.

"Forty-three years of my life has gone here," Brimer said. "This is what keeps me alive, what keeps me vibrant, what keeps my mind young."

But the 62-year-old fears the second-oldest surf shop in Orange County could be forced to close because of where it sits.

In the 1970s, the area was zoned for residential use only. The city didn't act against the Frog House at that time, but officials are updating city plans and are taking action on zoning restrictions.

"Because it operates commercial use in a residentially zoned area, it would have to stop operating that type of use in that area," said David Hunt, Newport Beach's city attorney.

Brimer received notice in July, giving him 90 days to either get an extension of the abatement period or apply to rezone to make it commercial.

"I can give you good advice on the shape of a board, but when it's time to work with City Hall people, I'm really inept at it," Brimer said. "But I'm gong to have to learn quickly."

Some Frog House customers said they can't imagine the place closing.

"That would be a big bummer because it's the neighborhood surf shop," said Lon Leiman of Huntington Beach. "It's a down to earth place."

Brimer has until mid-October to file the formal paperwork or city officials say they plan to move ahead and force the Frog House to move.


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