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Coastal Commission asks NB for specifics on fire ring pilot program

By Ambrosia Brody

NEWPORT BEACH — The city’s applica- tion to the California Coastal Commission for a pilot program limit- ing fire ring fuel to charcoal has been deemed incomplete with commission staff requesting city officials to provide more details on the program. “The Community Development staff is in the process of reviewing the letter received from the Coastal Commission and we don’t have a date for the City’s resubmittal to Coastal,” Public Information Specialist for the city of Newport Beach Mary Locey explained in an email. Coastal Commissioners sent the let- ter that outlines six areas of concern, to the city on Aug. 15. The letter is in response to the city’s application for a Coastal Development Permit to imple- ment a pilot program limiting fueling sources in all beach fire rings to char- coal only. The application was submit- ted on July 17. According to the letter, the city

must provide the proposed duration of the pilot program, describe how char- coal will be made available to fire ring users and how much money has been allocated to providing users with free charcoal. “Where are the free charcoal loca-

tions, how are they staffed, and how is the public informed of the availability and location of free charcoal,” the letter asks. “During what hours is free char- coal available? Is there a limit to the number of bags given out per ring or per person? What type of charcoal has been and will be given away (lump or briquettes)? To expand the city’s ability to provide free charcoal, have you con- sidered approaching charcoal compa- nies about donating charcoal for pur- poses of this pilot program? Will the city make charcoal available for purchase at Corona del Mar State Beach and in the Balboa Pier area? If the city does make charcoal available for purchase on-site, will there be a limit on the price charged?” Monitoring efforts are another area

of concern, with the letter also asking the city to describe in more detail the efforts that has already been undertaken to monitor compliance with the char- coal — only rule and its impacts on fire ring use. “Is the city surveying fire ring users to find out whether their experience with charcoal is comparable to wood?” the letter asks. “What questions is the city asking fire ring users about their experi- ence and about whether the charcoal- only rule is a deterrent to their use of the fire rings? If there is a survey question- naire, please submit a copy.” The letter also asked if the city has conducted air quality monitoring to assess whether fire ring emissions have decreased since implementing the char- coal-only rule and asks for a description

of the methodology and its results. Coastal Commissioners also ques- tions if the city has assessed the poten- tial air quality and health impacts asso- ciated with use of charcoal and started products, including lighter fluid, com- pared to the use of wood. Copies of any scientific studies reviewed are to be sub- mitted to the commission, the letter states.

An eight step monitoring program was also provided in the letter, which

includes a control site where wood burning is allowed; documented use of lighter fluid at charcoal-only fire rings to understand whether lighter fluid is only used to start charcoal or is being used to maintain flames to approximate a wood fire’ document the average number of bags of charcoal used at fire rings and the average duration of use; count the number of people leaving the beach areas after learning about the charcoal- only rule; track the dates and amount of

The Log • September 12 - 25, 2014 • 13

free charcoal provided to fire ring users to compares user statistics when free charcoal is available and not available; survey fire ring users to assess quality of fire ring experience at charcoal-only fire rings and at the wood burning control site, and more.

The letter ends by asking the city to

“submit any information which you feel may help Commission staff gain a clear understanding of the scope of your proj- ect.” “Upon receipt of the requested mate-

rials we will proceed with determining the completeness of your application,” the letter states.

The city implemented the charcoal- only rule for fire rings in March.


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