The California Coastal Commission put the kibosh, at least temporarily, on Newport Beach's plans to remove fire pits from its state and city beaches, reports Corona Del Mar Today. The fire pits in question are some of the few places left to live out the Southern California cliché of settling down next to a fire while listening to some Bob Marley wannabe butcher songs on an acoustic guitar while the Pacific Ocean crashes onto the beach in the background. Back in March, the Newport Beach City Council voted unanimously to remove 60 fire pits from its beaches, including 27 fire pits at Big Corona State Beach, which the city manages. The city was exploring the possibility of removing the pits in 2009, but tabled the discussion due to budget constraints and limited staff resources. That changed when the family of a child burned by a beach fire pit in nearby Huntington Beach sued that city for damages. Following Newport's March vote, the city filed an application to remove the fire pits in June, only to be rebuked by the California Coastal Commission with instructions to study the air quality impacts of the fire pits and possible alternatives to removing them entirely, such as switching to gas flames or implementing a permitting and fee system. The city of Newport Beach will reapply to remove the fire pits in a few weeks, meaning that the end of summer could mean the end of fun.
· Coastal Commission to City: Fire Ring Removal Application Incomplete [Corona del Mar Today]
· Newport council votes to remove beach fire rings [Orange County Register]