For years, Newport Beach luxury home owners with property along the Balboa Peninsula boardwalk and near Corona del Mar State Beach pleaded with city officials to remove the wood-burning fire pits. The toxic fumes caused health concerns for many area residents, and according to Mayor Keith Curry: “evidence of particulate matter in outdoor air pollution as carcinogenic for humans (continues to be a concern.)”
To address this issue, the City of Newport Beach is considering allowing natural gas fire rings in their place. According to city officials, the use of these cleaner burning rings would cut wood smoke by 50 percent or more. Earlier this year, the South Coast Air Quality Management District voted to place new restrictions on the use of beach fire rings, including the need for a 700-foot buffer zone between fire pits and Newport Beach luxury homes. These changes go into effect in March 2014.
It’s expected that City Council will approve the pilot program for the natural gas fire rings, which would allow them to remove some of the wood-burning rings that currently sit on the beach. Currently, Newport Beach is home to 33 fire rings by the Balboa Pier, while Corona del Mar State Beach has 27. The new plan would reduce these numbers to 15 and 12, respectively, to allow the city to spread existing rings out, at least 50 feet from one another.
City Manager Dave Kiff said: “I think there’s a wonderful risk that these are going to be really popular.” Indeed, they might.
For years, both Newport Beach luxury home owners, their families and out-of-town visitors adored the ability to host a bonfire right on the sand. If the new plan were to come to fruition, two large bonfire rings fueled by natural gas would be installed in each beach area, with three additional single natural gas rings as well. Officials say the larger rings could accommodate approximately 25 people.
The City of Newport Beach is currently working with the South Coast Air Quality Management District, which recently approved two contractors who will work on prototype propane and natural gas fire rings for the pilot program. Should the program be granted funding, the rings would likely be installed in two phases starting with rings at the Balboa Pier. If the test period proves successful, they would then be installed at Corona Del Mar State Beach.
Sam Atwood, AQMD spokesman said: “This process will help determine how it can be done safely in Newport. It is important to make sure that these fire rings are durable in the environment and also that they can provide warmth and can be used for cooking.”
City officials say that the new gas fire pits would need to be installed at the edge of the beach because of gas pipelines needed to run them.
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Homes in Newport Beach, California between $4,000,000 and $5,000,000
$4,095,000 : 4 Oak Tree Drive, Newport Beach6 beds, 6 baths
$4,095,000 : 1761 Miramar Drive, Newport Beach3 beds, 5 baths
$4,100,000 : 1551 Santa Barbara Drive, Newport Beach2 beds, 3 baths
$4,150,000 : 200 E OCEANFRONT, Newport Beach5 beds, 2 baths
$4,175,000 : 1733 Miramar Drive, Newport Beach4 beds, 5 baths
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(all data current as of 10/22/2017)
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