Fire ring advocacy group submits survey results to Coastal Commission

Fire ring advocacy group submits survey results to Coastal Commission

NEWPORT BEACH – As the city of Newport Beach prepares to resubmit its application to the California Coastal Commission to allow for a pilot program limiting fire ring fuel to charcoal, a nonprofit organization has released results of a survey that shows support for keeping the fire rings as is.

Friends of the Fire Rings, a local organization powered by a mission to thwart the removal of beach fire rings public beaches, announced on Sept. 11 its plans to forward a copy of the survey results to the Coastal Commission. A copy of the organization’s similar 2013 survey will also be provided to the commission to help provide background information related to any “current proposals that may remove or alter any California beach fire rings,” the organization wrote.

“We are hoping the city of Newport Beach stops disregarding the overwhelming will of the people, especially its own residents, and be truthful about what they are doing.,” Brenna Hughes, a coordinator with Friends of the Fire Rings in a prepared statement. “Keeping the fire rings as is continues to be overwhelmingly popular, and the city’s charcoal-only gimmick is incredibly unpopular – contradictory to the city’s unfounded claims that their short-term ‘charcoal-only’ rules are working, and long-term plans for removal are popular.”

The main results of the online survey (sample size: 1,200) are as follows:

92.4 percent of survey participants believe the city of Newport Beach should leave the fire rings alone;

83.2 percent do not  believe that charcoal provides the same experience as wood;

87 percent of participants believe the city’s hiring eight part-time staff to hand-out literature and free charcoal at the beaches is not a wise use of taxpayer dollars;

90.1 percent  believe that the city giving away free charcoal to all visitors to the beaches is not a wise use of taxpayer dollars;

83.6 percent said they would be less likely to vote for a city council candidate who opposes the fire rings

87.5 percent of participants would support a Newport Beach ballot measure that would require over 50 percent majority approval of residents before the city could seek a permit for removal of the fire rings.

87.3 percent responded that they would be less likely to use the Newport Beach fire rings should the city continue to require only charcoal.

The Coastal Commissioners sent a letter 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 implement a pilot program limiting fueling sources in all beach fire rings to charcoal only. The application was submitted on July 17.

According to the letter, the city must provide the proposed duration of the pilot program, describe how charcoal will be made available to fire ring users and how much money has been allocated to providing users with free charcoal.

For more information about the survey, visit savethefirerings.org.

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