The Newport Beach City Council could adopt state fire maps at a meeting on Tuesday, six months after declining to accept an earlier iteration that would have included much of Corona del Mar in a high fire hazard zone.
In January, the City Council said the ordinance on the table was too confusing; read our story here. In February, a new fire chief was sworn in, and he quickly began reviewing and revising the maps.
State law requires Newport Beach City Council to adopt a Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone Map with special building and landscaping requirements for homes within the map. The state’s maps originally included most of Newport Coast as well as homes along Buck Gully and Morning Canyon and stretched from Orchid down to Crystal Cove.
Almost immediately after being sworn in, Fire Chief Scott Poster started to review the fire hazard zone, flying over it in an Orange County Fire Authority helicopter as well as studying maps, reviewing weather and wind conditions and more. Those factors, as well as existing landscape maintenance requirements for homeowners along Lower Buck Gully and Morning Canyon, led to his proposed maps that removed most of the Corona del Mar homes. The chief and other department representatives also met with community members six times, including at the OASIS Senior Center, the Corona del Mar Town Meeting and the Cameo Shores Community’s annual board meeting
The state law regarding Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone maps went into effect in 2009 “to address, on a statewide basis, the almost annual loss of a great many residential structures due to wildland fires,” according to a city report. Because individual cities had been unable to enforce fire prevention, and because the state incurred “very high cost” in fighting wildland fires, the state legislature decided to create maps and rules that all California cities must follow.
The City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Council Chambers at City Hall at 3300 Newport Blvd. The meeting is open to the public, and members of the public may make comments.
The adoption of the ordinance is mandated by the state’s Government Code, and therefore adoption is ministerial, according to the meeting’s online agenda.