Ever since word hit the streets that the legendary surf shop, The Frog House, might have to close its doors because of zoning restrictions, locals have been chatting about the possible loss of a Newport Shores icon.
They've now taken this chatter to the Web, with two fans — Duranne Collins Mungall and Jason Nedelman — starting a Facebook group, aptly titled "Save The Frog House."
As of Wednesday afternoon, the group had more than 550 members and was steadily growing. Residents from all over Orange County commented on the group's wall, offering words of encouragement and options, such as writing to Newport Beach City Council members.
"Newport without the Frog House is no longer Newport," Douglas Owens said.
Another fan of the group, Bryan Hurley, went the extra mile and wrote to the city.
"Just wrote all the council members," he said. "Hey city of Newport, have you thought about the tax dollars that will go to Huntington Beach instead? Save The Frog House."
Many of the comments revealed what the surf shop is to many people in the area: a landmark.
John Walsh, a resident of San Clemente, wrote that the Frog House should apply for historical landmark status.
"The Frog House is right there with the Crab Cooker and Blackies," Walsh said. "The Frog House is Newport Beach culture, nothing else exists!"
Others wrote about shopping for their family with the help of the owner, TK Brimer. Carl Alexander of Tustin said he bought his first surfboard at the Newport Beach shop 34 years ago. All the comments on the wall are positive, reflecting strong customer loyalty.
As mentioned in the Daily Pilot Oct. 1 article on Frog House, Newport Beach zoning laws prohibit commercial property on residentially zoned locations. The area was zoned after Frog House moved to that location in 1962 and a 2008 ordinance requires them to act on non-conforming properties. The Frog House is one of four non-conforming properties in Newport Beach.
Councilman Steve Rosansky voiced support for rezoning the area, but said that they will have to follow the proper protocol to be considered.