Coastal Commission: Fire ring removal application incomplete

The California Coastal Commission needs more data about fire rings before staff will consider the city’s application to remove them, according to a letter sent to the city.

The requested information includes data on who uses the fire rings and when, what alternatives to removal that the city considered, the history of the rings and whether the city had conducted any air quality studies about the dangers of smoke from the fires.

“The city’s application states that ‘fire rings clearly present a health and safety impact to the public…’” the letter states. “Has the city conducted an air quality study supporting removal of the fire rings, as suggested by two members of the Parks, Beaches and Recreation Commission? If so, please provide that information. If not please explain why such a study was not conducted? Has the city documented the air quality impacts of smoke from the fire rings? Is the city relying chiefly on the anecdotal testimony of residents at the two public meetings for evidence of health effects of the fire rings in Newport Beach?”

The letter also questions whether the city has authority to remove rings from Big Corona State Beach, which is a state beach that the city operates. It also asks whether whether any state or local air quality regulation governs fire rings.

The letter questions the adequacy of the city’s apparent plan to notify adjacent property owners and residents about when the Coastal Commission will hear the issue.

“What distance from the fire rings does your list cover?” the letter asks. “The fire rings are likely a regional attraction, utilized by individuals that live beyond the usual 100 foot notification radius.” A newspaper notice might be more appropriate, the letter suggests.

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