After nearly two hours of public comment and discussion, the California Coastal Commission voted unanimously to continue the item regarding the removal of 60 fire rings in Newport Beach until the Air Quality Management District meets in May.
The AQMD will evaluate and consider lifting the rule that exempts campfires, beach bonfires, and ceremonial burning from certain regulations pertaining to the South Coast area.
After the decision, City Manager Dave Kiff said he was happy with the continuation. It was better than if they had voted to deny the city’s permit outright, he added.
Even if the air quality board does lift the exemption rule, Kiff said he does not envision any changes in the wording of the permit application, meaning the city would still request removal of all 60 fire rings.
“This would just add another layer of information,” to the issue, Kiff said.
He hopes they will consider all the evidence and act accordingly.
The city will have to wait before taking any action until the issue comes back to the coastal commission. The city will be back before the commission in June, Kiff added.
He also added that he thought Commissioner William Burke’s comments about the harm that wood smoke can cause were powerful and very informative. Burke, who said he spent 20 years on the air quality board, is confident the exemption will be lifted, he said.
A group of about 30 people were in attendance at the meeting, with most of them speaking on the fire rings issue, and included comments from both sides.
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