Deciding it wants to await a state Air Quality Management District decision on Newport Beach's fire rings, the California Coastal Commission on Wednesday postponed its own ruling on the controversial pits.
Meeting at a San Diego resort--commission meeting sites rotate up and down the Golden State's vast coastline--the panel indicated it may take up the city of Newport Beach's proposal to remove the rings in June.
That will be a month after the Diamond Bar-based South Coast AQMD discusses the possibility of removing an exemption to wood-burning prohibitions that allowed for recreational fire pits.
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Citing environmental and liability concerns, Newport Beach wants to remove 60 rings from the Balboa Pier area and Corona del Mar State beaches. The Coastal Commission staff recommend the panel deny the proposal because the pits have been part of beach life for around 70 years and offer a low- or no-cost attraction to millions of Southern Californians.
Some supporters of the rings fear the upscale city is just trying to prevent more outsiders from lingering on its beaches. However, it was the same commission staff that recommended keeping the rings that advocated awaiting the AQMD decision.