The latest on the Newport Beach fire rings, from an article by Corona del Mar Today:
The California Coastal Commission today postponed a decision on the future of the city’s 60 beach fire rings until after May, when another agency will consider whether to lift an exemption that allows bonfires on beaches while limiting other wood-burning fires.
“This exemption will be lifted,” said Commissioner William Burke, chairman of the South Coast Air Quality Management District board. “Anybody who thinks that is not going to pass is not in touch with reality.”
Burke’s comments drew applause, and moments later the commissioners agreed unanimously to wait for the outcome of its sister agency’s meeting before going forward with their decision.
Corona del Mar resident Frank Peters, who attended the Coastal Commission meeting in San Diego, said he was “ecstatic” by the development.
“It looks like the Coastal Commission is looking to punt this issue,” he said. “We’re very encouraged and hopeful. This is going to become a much larger removal of fire rings potentially — Huntington Beach and elsewhere.”
The City of Newport Beach applied last year for permission to remove 60 fire rings, including 27 from Big Corona State Beach, largely because of concerns about the harmful effects of wood smoke.
Coastal Commission staff had 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.
Newport Beach’s application referred to the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s Rule 445, which was adopted in 2008 and banned wood-burning fireplaces in new developments. That rule specifically exempts beach bonfires, and that exemption had concerned Coastal Commission staff.
The SCAQMD’s board meeting is scheduled for May 3. Newport Beach agreed to the postponement, and the Coastal Commission will wait for the air quality decision before revisiting the issue.
Nonetheless, the commissioners conducted a full hearing that lasted 1 hour and 27 minutes…
Read the rest of this article by Corona del Mar Today here: Fire Rings Decision Delayed Until Air District’s May Meeting.