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Corona del Mar Today: Fire ring debate still burning in Newport Beach

October 01, 2011
  • The Parks, Beaches & Recreation Commission on Tuesday will discuss the issue of banning fire pits.
The Parks, Beaches & Recreation Commission on Tuesday… (Courtesy AMY SENK,…)

Some people might like beach fire rings, but the drawbacks might outweigh the benefits, and a three-member sub-committee should study the issue, according to the agenda for Tuesday's Parks, Beaches and Recreation Commission meeting.

In a memo included in the online agenda, Recreation and Senior Services Director Laura Detweiler conceded that "fire rings are liked by many beachgoers."

But, she said, the city and others have concerns about health impact to residents, "especially in CdM," the note said.

She specifically noted that volleyball players' and others' proximity to "near-constant smoke and particulate matter from the rings' use" as an issue. Other problems include injuries when hot ash is not doused or properly disposed of, the costs of cleaning and replacing rings and concerns about beach curfew violations "by persons using the fire rings who can be reluctant to leave the beach when directed to do so by park patrol or police."

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The commission will decide whether to appoint a three-member subcommittee to "review issues related to beach fire rings and return to the full commission with recommended solutions," Detweiler's memo stated.

Questions about the safety of beach fire rings were widely debated, especially in Corona del Mar, about two years ago before city leaders decided the issue was taking too much staff time when budget constraints were heating up.

At a City Council meeting earlier this month, however, Mayor Pro Tem Nancy Gardner asked that the Parks Commission study the issue. She cited an accident in Huntington Beach and litigation in that city as reasons to reexamine the rings.

Big Corona State Beach has 27 rings, and the beach by Balboa Pier has 33 rings.

The Parks, Beaches and Recreation Commission meeting will take place at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Council Chambers at Newport Beach City Hall, 3300 Newport Blvd. The public is welcome and may make comments.

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Council delays plastic-bag ban study

The Newport Beach City Council this week delayed a decision about whether to ask the Environmental Quality Affairs Committee to study a citywide ban on single-use plastic bags.

Mayor Pro Tem Nancy Gardner asked council members for their input after Newport Harbor High School students made the request at the last EQAC meeting, Gardner said at Tuesday's Council meeting.

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