Monday, April 18, 2016

REVISED Beach Fires Pilot Program, City Council, April 5, 2016

ABSTRACT: At the SPECIAL MEETING of the City Council on April 5, 2016, Agenda Item 8. AB 1115 Consideration of the approval of a Beach Fires Pilot Program and direct staff to return to Council in May with a Coastal Development Permit was considered. After staff presentation, public input and city council deliberation, City Council Member Victoria Beach moved to provide direction to staff on a revised Beach Fires Pilot Program:
- Effective this summer and lasting 3 years
- Adaptive management evolving as program progresses
- Phase 1 is a restoration year of user supplied propane only devices limited to areas south of 10th
- No more unlimited wood fires
- No more wood fires on sand
- Add initial, thorough sand sifting & cleaning from north to south boundary
- During phase 1, workshop possible wood fire containment devices, expansion of area, other means of expanding access, or other modifications for phase 2
- Eliminate existing moratorium on weekends and holidays
- Eliminate city provision of individual devices & six public devices
- Encourage the private sector to offer rental devices
- Recommend use of devices with a UL rating
- Reduce reports from monthly to semi-annual
- Written legal, insurance, fire, and public safety opinions
- Confer with Cities in southern CA that have completed similar projects
- CEQA review
- Include enforcement plan
- Include communications plan
- Explore options for monitoring access
- Document process undertaken for the development of Carmel’s Pilot Program
The motion was approved unanimously.
The City’s PowerPoint Presentation and documents of interest are embedded, including Beach Fires Management Pilot Program, CITY COUNCIL DISCUSSION AND DIRECTION, APRIL 5, 2016 and correspondence from Tricia Dally, including L. Koteen Memorandum to M. Watson regarding Cannel Beach Air Quality Issues, Dec. 9, 2015, and Petition for Wood burning fires in Portable Pits on Carmel Beach with 502 electronic signatures as of April 5, 2016
Beach Fires Management Pilot Program
APRIL 5, 2016

Tricia Dally Carmel Valley, CA
Letter regarding Beach Fires for City Council Meeting on April 5, 2016 with attachments

I would like to state that those of us who support wood beach fires have already expressed our strong desire to reach a compromise with the City by limiting the number of wood fires on Carmel Beach. We have been repeatedly ignored despite the fact that the Carmel Beach monitor data does not support a total ban on wood fires.

To date, almost 500 Carmel Beach stakeholders have signed the petition requesting a compromise from the City of Carmel to include a limited number of wood beach fires in portable pits in their next proposal to the California Coastal Commission. This is more than twice as many who signed the petition to oppose wood fires.

Reducing the number of wood fires on Carmel Beach to 26, for example, as was proposed in the trial previously approved by the City in 2015, would have been an 80% reduction in the number of fires that occurred on the July 4 peak that caused concern. If emissions from July 4 would have been reduced by 80% as well, air quality would have been in the "Good" air quality category.

We respectfully ask again that you include a limited number of wood-burning fires, in portable or temporary pits, in your next proposal to the California Coastal Commission.

To conclude, and to answer the questions posed above, yes, one exceedance of the Clean Air Act 24-hour PM 2.5 standards did occur over the five-month time period examined.  However, that exceedance occurred on a Sunday when the beach fire moratorium was in place, and there were no beach fires.  Thus, this exceedance was due to PM 2.5 sources other than beach fires.   This exceedance instead appears to have been associated with the large fires that occurred inland of Carmel Beach along Highway 68 at that time, and was definitely not associated with fires on Carmel Beach. 

Based on this analysis, I conclude that limiting the number of beach fires, and better beach fire management within the allowed beach fire area at Carmel Beach would be a prudent and cautious approach to help avoid exceeding “Good” air quality guidelines inland of that area, but that a ban on all such fires is not supported by the data. 

Conclusions Source: L. Koteen Memorandum to M. Watson regarding Cannel Beach Air Quality Issues, Dec. 9, 2015
Petition for Wood burning fires in Portable Pits on Carmel Beach
502 electronic signatures as of April 5, 2016

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