Fire Rings Ordinance Approved by Council

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City council approved the second reading of the beach fire rings ordinance restricting the type of fuel allowed on Tuesday, voting 6-1 with councilwoman Leslie Daigle dissenting.

The city ordinance allows natural wood, natural gas, fire logs and charcoal to be burned, but after March 1 a South Coast Air Quality Management District rule will narrow those choices down even further to only charcoal since the rings are too close together and too close to residences by AQMD‘s standards.

The key to being able to burn those other various types of fuel, under AQMD’s rule, is  to spread them out to an appropriate distance and to make sure there are not too many of them burning natural wood, creating a smoke that would be toxic to the nearby neighborhoods.

But to spread them out, a Coastal Development Permit is required, which could take between six and 12 months or longer to acquire.

So in the meantime, the city ordinance allows the city manager to temporarily prohibit non-AQMD acceptable fuel sources, leaving only charcoal to be allowed.

However, because of the 30-day waiting period the city ordinance can’t be enforced until March 12, long after the conflicting AQMD rule takes effect on March 1.Foretunately for the city, the AQMD approved a 12-day grace period before implementation of the rule without the city being subject to any fines, City Manager Dave Kiff confirmed.

Kiff encouraged people to use charcoal during that period.

The plan council considered back in November “envisions a combination of several different types of rings,” Kiff reminded the audience at Tuesday‘s meeting.

Some would burn natural wood, some natural gas (not propane), he continued. According to the ordinance, fire logs and charcoal would also be allowed.

The ordinance is a “short term measure,” Kiff said, because the larger plan requires the CDP.

“The goal is to provide still an opportunity to enjoy every one of the 60 rings, but with a different fuel source for that period, while we file a larger application for the plan that the council approved,” Kiff said.

After the city ordinance goes into effect on March 12 and until the CDP is obtained, the city manager will likely limit the type of acceptable fuel to only charcoal. After the CDP is obtained, the city can space out the fire rings, comply with the AQMD rule and allow natural wood, natural gas, fire logs and charcoal to burn.

The ordinance only applies to public beaches, city attorney Aaron Harp clarified.

Only a portion, if any at all, of the rings may be removed in the future after the city receives a Coastal Development Permit, Harp explained.

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  1. If there has to be restrictions, the combination idea is fair, with some fine tuning a win for the folks that live down at Big Corona… right? What if AQMD found their decision flawed and out of their “business” area? The science is conflicting to complaint in comparison to other agency data. Basically we needed to be burning acceptable woods and restrict everything else… what are we to do with the coveted “Health” card?
    Im glad Leslie Daigle dissented her say, this went way overboard and was recklessly conceived by certain members of council, staff and CDM residents. The argument will stand about “health” as it will about “undesirable visitors” and how this came to a monumental cooked up embarrassing fight for our City.