The City of Newport Beach’s Zoning Administrator on Wednesday granted a minor use permit that paves the way for a Sweet Lady Jane Bakery to open in Corona del Mar — but one opponent who expressed concerns about parking said he would appeal the decision.
The bakery, which has two locations in the Los Angeles area, would take over the psychic shop that occupies part of the space at 3732 East Coast Highway. Sweet Lady Jane has a national reputation for creating cakes for celebrities, and the Corona del Mar shop would have 12 indoor seats and eight outdoor seats. The hours would be from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m Sundays through Wednesdays and 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. the rest of the week.
Because the new business is a food service business, the minor use permit is required, but Zoning Administrator Brenda Wisneski said other businesses that could create as much traffic and noise would be able to open without any such permit. She urged owner Daniel Mafrice to consider seeking parking agreements with neighboring businesses to help his future clients, but such parking agreements were not mandatory for the permit.
“Maybe it’s more intense than John Blom was, but it’s not more intense then what it’s zoned for,” she said. She added that the area attracted many pedestrians, which may ease parking congestion.
Bill Cote, who owns a nearby building that is leased to Opus Bank, said that the bakery cafe would certainly create parking problems.
“When Mr. Blom was there, I had a consistent problem with his clients parking in my spaces,” Cote said at the hearing in the City Council conference room. “I can’t police the spaces. It’s just completely incompatible with the neighborhood…They’re going to have people coming and going — they plan to have a lot of people coming in, and there happens to be no parking.”
Cote said after the hearing that he would appeal the permit to the Planning Commission; if the Zoning Administrator is overturned, Sweet Lady Jane could appeal to the City Council.
Mafrice, who brought a yellow box filled with pastries to the meeting, said the city permit issues had slowed construction. After the hearing, he declined to give an opening date.
“We want to be open as soon as possible,” he said.
The Zoning Administrator hearing also was scheduled to consider an application from a daycare business on Poppy Avenue, but the applicant withdrew her expansion request.
Read our earlier Lady Jane stories here and here.
Photographer John Blom sold his building in the spring; read our story here. The space, which has been undergoing exterior renovations, has been home to the psychic shop and formerly was a Republican Headquarters building.