City Preparing Fire Ring Removal Application

posted: May 14th, 2012 07:22 am | 4Comments

Newport Beach officials could be submitting a permit application to the Coastal Commission early this week, seeking permission to remove the city’s 60 beach fire rings.

City staff has reviewed details of the application with Coastal Commission staff, said Tara Finnigan, a Newport Beach city spokeswoman, and will be delivering the application soon. A Coastal Commission staff member has said it could take months to review the matter after it comes before him because the beaches are public, and the fire rings are considered a public amenity.

Before the Council’s vote, 29 speakers testified about fire rings — most against the rings, with many speakers citing concerns about the health risks of wood smoke. Click here to read our story.

Almost immediately, an online petition was created to stop the removal of the rings; to date, the petition has 3,840 online signatures. A website called Save the Pits also has been created as a “central location for news and updates on saving a special part of our communities history,” according to the site.

The discussions about removing beach fire rings date back to 2009, when the City Council discussed the possibly but ultimately tabled the issue because it was taking too much staff time at a point when budget constraints were becoming a serious city issue. Then in September 2011, Gardner suggested the parks commission study the issue again, partly because of a claim filed against Huntington Beach after a boy was burned on a fire ring there. The Parks, Beaches & Recreation Commission voted 4-3 to recommend removal of the rings at a meeting in February; read our story here.

During Saturday’s Walk With The Mayor event in Corona del Mar, several residents asked Mayor Nancy Gardner about fire rings as they passed them on Big Corona. Gardner said she understood arguments for and against them and had no idea what the Coastal Commission would decide.

The rings cost about the city about $50,000 each year to clean and maintain, Gardner said.

4 Responses to “City Preparing Fire Ring Removal Application”



May 14th, 2012

Online signatures don't mean a thing. They are easily faked, I'll bet 90% aren't voters and 99% aren't the ones footing the bill (property owners in Newport Beach) and 99.99% don't live in old CDM and aren't affected by the negative factors of the fire rings. In fact it seems to me these are the people who are the cause of the problems, not the solution. It's the same thing as when San Diego banned drinking on the beach. All the drunks raised an uproar, but it didn't change the facts or the result.

Barbara Peters

May 15th, 2012

It's interesting that the fire rings are being called an amenity, when it's well documented that wood smoke is is more harmful to human health than equal amounts of tobacco smoke. Does anyone consider cigarette smoke in public places an amenity? And if there is a concern about the public having access to this so-called amenity, let's consider the 10% of the population with asthma, respiratory illness, or heart disease. For them, the public beach itself becomes inaccessible when smoke is present. We build ramps for people with wheelchairs; don't we have some concern about a barrier of toxic smoke that keeps many with health disabilities, and others who wish to remain healthy, from enjoying the public beach? Volleyball anyone?

Dixie Von

May 18th, 2012

I couldn't agree more. This beach is for Corona del Mar residents not for Lake Elsinore refugees. Let's put the fire rings up there, maybe people then will stay and smoke their own fumes. Have you ever gone to the beach on a saturday afternoon? You come back with you hair smelling like burnt shish kabob.

andrew hernandez

May 20th, 2012

Your wrong Dixie, jamie, etc...that beach does NOT belong to Del Mar residents. It belongs to the state of Ca., and you decided to buy/live next to it. Thats why Ca. is gonna take back their land that some have decided to try and take over and plant grass, install their own wood burning fire pit, etc. on. You may not want others from out of the area like Lake Elsinore or wherever, but your gonna have to deal with it. Being rich does NOT give you the right to step on the rest of the people that want to enjoy our public beaches. Just a forewarning, getting rid of the fire pits is NOT gonna get rid of your pesky out of towners. I am a Newport Beach resident and will miss taking my family in the eve for good times.

Leave a comment