OCEANSIDE — If you’re looking for a spot to roast wieners on the beach, you will need to look somewhere other than the north side of Oceanside Pier come August. City Council decided to relocate four fire rings that sit north of Oceanside Pier in a 3-1 vote April 7, in which Councilwoman Esther Sanchez voted no.
Residents who live in the San Miguel beach condominiums, which are in close proximity to the fire rings, voiced heath concerns about toxic fumes generated by untreated wood and random items burned in the fire rings. Those with asthma, emphysema, cancer and heart disease were especially concerned about the unhealthy air the fires create.
Residents suggested that the fire rings be moved down the beach south of the pier. “If you ask me where, south of the pier, we should move them, I think Encinitas is a good place,” Ezio Morici, an Oceanside resident, said.
While the concerns of San Miguel residents will be addressed when a new location is determined, there is a new concern that a Pandora’s box may be opened with no one welcoming the fire rings in front of their home.
“It’s privatizing the beach,” Sanchez said. “I don’t want to go there.”
Presently the fire rings are considered a public resource and need to be available for residents and tourists to use, Peter Weiss, city manager, said. “To remove them may be a serious issue (with the Coastal Commission),” Weiss said.
The fire rings will continue to be available for use, but where to put them still needs to be determined. Ideas were bantered around to relocate the fire rings, further north, south, or even to rotate their location. “Every 30 days we can move them and spread the burden around, but still keep them available to the general public,” Weiss said.
A recommendation on where to put the fire rings will be brought back to council in approximately 60 days. A Coastal Commission permit may be needed to relocate them.
Mayor Jim Wood said he will not support a plan that requires Costal Commission approval. Wood said the city should be able to resolve the issue with input from the Harbor and Beaches Committee.