(Corona Del Mar Today)
The City of Newport Beach’s coastal development permit for charcoal-only fire rings is on hold, a city spokeswoman confirmed today.
“It’s on hold because we likely won’t pursue the current application until getting further direction from the next City Council,” said Tara Finnigan in an email.
In December, four new City Council members will be sworn in: Scott Peotter, Diane Dixon, Marshall “Duffy” Duffield and Kevin Muldoon. Current Council members Mike Henn, Leslie Daigle and Nancy Gardner will term out, and Mayor Rush Hill lost to Duffield.
During their campaigns, Muldoon, Duffield and Peotter said they supported wood-burning fire rings. And current Councilman Tony Petros was not on the Council when it voted to remove the rings, although he did support a charcoal-only option; read our story here.
Newport Beach implemented the charcoal-only rule in March in order to comply with South Coast Air Quality Management District rule amendments on beach fire rings, but city staff agreed to work with the Coastal Commission staff on obtaining a permit for the program. The City submitted its 50-page application on July 17; read our story here.
In August, however, the Coastal Commission staff sent a three-page letter to the city, requesting more information including data on air quality and health impacts from charcoal smoke, whether data had been gathered about how fire ring users’ experience with charcoal compared to wood, charcoal availability and the dates of the proposed pilot program; read our earlier story here.
In October, city staff said they hoped to have the application complete and resubmitted by mid-October. A Coastal Commission staff member confirmed that no new information had been submitted, and that the application had not been withdrawn.
The new Council members will be sworn in at the Council’s only meeting in December on Dec. 9. That meeting typically is ceremonial, with goodbyes to outgoing members, placing new members on the dais and electing a mayor and mayor pro tem. New business will likely wait until a meeting in January.