State delays fate of Newport Beach fire rings
Newport Beach residents who are holding their breath about the fate of the city’s beach fire rings will have to wait a bit longer to exhale.
The California Coastal Commission voted unanimously Wednesday to put off a decision on the city’s application for a permit to remove its 60 fire rings at Corona del Mar State Beach and around the Balboa Pier.
The delay was requested after it came to light that the South Coast Air Quality Management District will consider whether fire rings should be more heavily restricted in May.
“We don’t want to get at odds with public health, even if it’s at odds with access,” commission Chairwoman Mary Shallenberger said of the commission’s sister agency.
Although a staff report recommends that the commission reject the city’s application because the removal of the fire rings would eliminate a free form of recreation, thus limiting public access to the beach, the city has contended that smoke from the rings poses a significant public health risk.
-- Jill Cowan, from San Diego
Photo: A beachgoer tends to the blaze in one of the fire rings at Big Corona in Newport Beach. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times