Newport Beach City Council members discussed rules about tents on public beaches at a study session Tuesday afternoon, coming up with a few suggestions that will go into the final version. The issue will go before the full council for a vote, probably next month.
The new law likely will permit easy-up style tents or canopies, but only if they are 10′ by 10′ or smaller, and only if they have three of four sides open. Council members also discussed how much distance should be required between tents, which will be more clearly defined before the issue goes to a vote.
The proposed tent rules also would likely bar tents from being too close to fire pits, and would make exceptions for tents being used for city events, like junior lifeguards.
Three Corona del Mar residents addressed the council, thanking them for looking into the topic of tents overtaking beaches, particularly on Big Corona State Beach.
Joan Coleman said she spends most weekends and many other afternoons at the beach, and she worries that the tents block her view of her husband and grandchildren swimming in the waves. “I can’t see them,” she said. “You almost have to be on a lifeguard tower to see. This summer, every weekend has been like the Fourth of July.” Creating space between tents and prohibiting people from joining smaller tents to create massive compounds will help, she said.
Councilman Keith Curry had said earlier that tents had become overwhelmingly popular this summer. “It looks like we have entire tent cities on our beaches now.”
Beach visitors use the tents to shade them from the sun — but neighbor Karen James said she thought beach umbrellas should be the only shelters permitted.
“They don’t block anybody’s views,” she told the council. “I think umbrellas make a beautiful beach scene, and that’s all you need.”
The easy-up tents, however, likely will be permitted under the new rules. Besides limiting their size and creating distance between tents, the new rules will make sure tents don’t block lifeguard views or emergency paths and will not be permitted after dark.
Check out our earlier coverage of this topic here.