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Corona del Mar Today: City to follow up on fire-ring request

September 29, 2012|By Amy Senk
  • Newport Beach Mayor Nancy Gardner smiles as she wavies from the back of a convertible during the 19th annual Balboa Island Parade in June.
Newport Beach Mayor Nancy Gardner smiles as she wavies… (STEVEN GEORGES,…)

California Coastal Commission staff met with a Newport Beach staff member earlier this month to discuss the city's fire ring removal application then followed up with a letter listing four points where the application needs clarification before the commission will schedule a public hearing.

A copy of the letter, dated Sept. 13, was posted to the city's website Sept. 20.

The major roadblock appears to be the lack of specific air-quality studies, the letter indicates. Commission staff had requested additional information on air-quality studies in a June letter, but the city's response in August said such a study was not feasible.

"In our last letter we asked you a series of questions regarding the alleged air-quality impacts of the fire rings to which you didn't fully respond," the latest commission letter states. "Therefore, we request your response to the following questions: How has the city documented the air-quality impacts of the fire rings? Have air samples been taken at the beach or neighboring homes? If so, please provide the results of that sampling. How does the city know definitively the source of smoke in adjacent neighborhoods? Are there regular air-quality-monitoring stations in Corona del Mar and the vicinity of the Balboa Pier?"

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The letter also asks whether the city enforces restrictions on burning "inappropriate materials, such as treated paper or plastic creating toxic smoke," and what penalties exist for violators.

The letter also asks for information on how many people use the fire rings, and when the rings are most in demand, as well as their history.

"City staff is compiling additional information to respond to the Coastal Commission's September 2012 letter," the city website states. "Once the application is deemed complete, a public hearing can be scheduled. With the desire to conduct the hearing locally, potential public hearing dates would be in either November 2012 or February 2013."

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Traffic study

The traffic study at East Coast Highway near MacArthur Boulevard will remain in place until at least Oct. 23, city officials confirmed.

The traffic study was installed in late June, using delineator poles and paint to move the merge, where three lanes squeeze to two, from the MacArthur intersection to closer to Acacia Avenue.

Based on surveys, feedback, traffic counters and other information, city staff will prepare a report to present to the City Council at an Oct. 23 meeting.

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