A state bill that aims to preserve beach fire rings moved through a Senate committee last week, with unanimous approval from lawmakers.
Assembly Bill 1102 would require a city – or a county – to apply for a coastal development permit in order to remove or restrict the use of beach fire rings.
The Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water voted 7-0 to approve the amended bill on June 24. There was a second reading and more amendments on Tuesday.
It will move on to Senate Appropriations next, scheduled to be heard on Aug. 4. It will then head to the Senate Floor, explained Newport Beach City Manager Dave Kiff and city spokeswoman Tara Finnigan in an email.
The bill has changed significantly since its introduction, Kiff noted.
“I think we would like to see the bill, as amended, in print before commenting to make sure we know what it actually includes,” Finnigan said.
The bill’s original intention was to prevent the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s regulation of the beach fire pits and overrule Rule 444, which requires the rings to be 100 feet apart from each other and 700 feet from homes
It has since been amended several times.
As it currently reads, “the bill would declare that these provisions do not override the applicability of a specified provision relating to ambient air quality standards, emission standards, or air pollution control programs or facilities established by the State Air Resources Board or an air pollution control or air quality management district,” the AB-1102 text states.
The city currently only allows charcoal to be burned in the rings, wood was banned in March.
The bill includes specific text that will allow the city of Newport Beach to distribute charcoal free of charge for use in a beach fire ring within 700 feet of a residence.
“As we understand it, it is now ‘declaratory of existing law’ and allows Newport Beach to conduct a charcoal-only pilot program for up to three years (through 2016), as well as to give away or subsidize charcoal for all 60 existing rings,” Finnigan explained in an email.
“No rings will be moved or removed,” she added.
The bill was authored by Huntington Beach republican, Assemblyman Travis Allen, and Fullerton democrat, Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva.
A principal co-author on the bill was Costa Mesa republican Assemblyman Allan Mansoor, who represents the 74th District, which includes Newport Beach.
For more information and to track the bill’s progress, visithttp://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/ and search for bill number 1102.