The Island Cinema at Fashion Island could serve alcohol at all showings — including those with children in the audience — if the city’s Zoning Administrator amends the theater’s use permit at a Thursday afternoon hearing.
Zoning Administrator Brenda Wisneski said in an email Thursday afternoon that the theater’s use permit was approved.
“The changes include the addition of two patio dining areas totaling approximately 800 square feet in area, modifying the approved hours of operation to allow the theater to open at 11:00 a.m., and allowing the service and consumption of alcohol during all movie screenings with the option to order from a server,” according to a city webpage.
In November 2011, the theater located at 999 Newport Center Drive inside Fashion Island was granted permission to serve alcohol, according to a staff report. The permit allowed alcohol sales between noon and 1 a.m. at screenings for patrons 21 years and older.
According to documents included with the online agenda, the Newport Beach Police Department reviewed the application and “has no objection to the changes as described by the applicant provided the applicant successfully obtains an Operator License issued by the Chief of Police.”
Police, however, did express concerns “regarding service of alcohol in a low light environment that includes patrons of all ages.” Newport Beach police visited similar operations in the area, the report said, and met with the applicant and its representatives and then listed conditions that would reduce the possibilities that “the operation will have a negative impact on the community and police services.” The conditions included training employees and not allowing exterior signs that advertise the availability of alcohol.
“No more than two (2) alcoholic beverages shall be sold or served to any one (1) person at anyone (1) time,” the staff report states. “The delivery of alcoholic beverages to patrons inside the auditoriums shall be limited to two (2) per patron per screening.”
Ambient lighting in the theater also must be sufficient “to allow a reasonable person to observe patrons who may be consuming alcoholic beverages,” the report said. Additionally, only people in designated theater seats will be able to be served alcoholic beverages, and servers will not be able to carry unlimited, unordered beverages into the theater.
To read the entire report, click here.
The hearing will be held at 3:30 p.m. Thursday in Council Chambers at the old City Hall at 3300 Newport Blvd. The public may attend and make comments.
Last month, the city’s Planning Commission granted the Port Theater permission to serve alcohol. Theater representatives said the Port likely would begin serving alcohol in February; read our story here.