NEWPORT BEACH (CBSLA.com) — The city of Newport Beach and the California Coastal Commission appear to be pitted against each other over the popular fire rings at Balboa Pier and Corona del Mar State Beach.
The city wants to remove 60 fire pits from Balboa Pier and Corona del Mar State Beach, citing complaints from residents, maintenance costs, liability and bad air quality caused by the burning of wood and other items in the fire rings.
Beachgoers flock to the fire rings in the summer, when bonfires are popular during the warm evenings.
“So many people have, like, good memories of bonfires with their friends,” beachgoer Noor Malvi said. “It would be a shame to get rid of these pits, you know, right before summer.”
The California Coastal Commission received the city’s request to remove the beach fire rings in May. A staff report recommends denying Newport Beach’s request. (PDF)
“The beach fire rings have been a part of the recreational experience in Newport Beach since the late 1940s or early 1950s and are a lower cost visitor and recreational facility,” according to the report, which also notes that pursuant to the Coastal Act, low-cost visitor and recreational facilities should be protected, encouraged and, where feasible, provided.
There are several beachgoers who say they would be willing to pay a small fee to cover the expense of maintaining the pits.
“We already pay for parking, so maybe it could be included in the parking,” Mureed Ibrahim said. “It could be an idea.”