One Response to “BREAKING NEWS: Coastal Commission Postpones Fire Rings Decision”
March 6th, 2013
Burn burn burn the eternal ring of fire!
The California Coastal Commission today unanimously agreed to wait until at least May to consider whether to allow Newport Beach to remove 60 beach fire rings.
The postponement, which Newport Beach agreed to, will allow the South Coast Air Quality Management District to meet and decide whether to lift an exemption to Rule 445, which was adopted in 2008 and banned wood-burning fireplaces in new developments. That rule specifically exempts beach bonfires.
Coastal Commissioner William Burke, who also serves on the SCAQMD board, told the other commissioners that the exemption “will be lifted.”
The story is developing.
Newport Beach applied for a coastal permit to remove the rings in May 2012, and Coastal Commission staff twice rejected it as being incomplete. Staff recommended denial of the coastal permit, issuing a report that said the rings were “a unique recreational facility for which there is no substitution.” The report also said that while staff understood the dangers of wood smoke — a major concern of some residents and City Council members — the city had not conducted studies that proved that fire ring smoke was the causing pollution near the beaches where they are located.
City officials have considered removing beach fire rings since 2009 when the issue was set aside because of budget issues. In September 2011, Councilwoman Nancy Gardner asked that the issue be studied after a lawsuit was filed against Huntington Beach when a child was injured at a fire ring there. In February 2012, the City’s Parks, Beaches & Recreation Commission voted 4-3 to recommend that the Council remove the rings, and the Council voted unanimously last March to remove them.