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Where There's Smoke on Beach in Newport, There May Be Fine

City Council would ban lighting up on oceanfront areas. A final vote is scheduled.

August 26, 2004|Stanley Allison | Times Staff Writer

Newport Beach has taken its first step toward a wide ban on outdoor smoking, approving an ordinance that would prohibit people from lighting up on all city beaches, piers, beach walkways, wharves and inspiration points.

The ban was approved 5 to 2 by the City Council on Tuesday and will have a second reading at the council's Sept. 14 meeting. If reaffirmed, the ban would go into effect 30 days later.

Newport Beach's effort to clear the air of secondhand smoke is the latest in a widening trend by beach cities to kick butts and secondhand smoke off the shoreline.

San Clemente was the first Orange County city to ban smoking on its beaches and at the base of its pier with an ordinance passed in March. Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach followed soon after.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday August 31, 2004 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 43 words Type of Material: Correction
Beach smoking ban -- An article in Thursday's California section about a proposed beach smoking ban in Newport Beach said Laguna Beach had enacted a similar law. The Laguna Beach City Council is scheduled to consider a proposed beach smoking ban Sept. 14.

The Newport Beach ordinance has a wider scope than other cities because of its series of bays fronted by homes and recreational facilities, city officials said.

"We see all of those recreation spots as integral to the beach experience," said Assistant City Manager Dave Kiff. And "the homes that front walkways [on Balboa Island and the strand along the peninsula] would experience the same secondhand smoke that folks on the beach would experience."

Councilman Steven Bromberg and Mayor Tod W. Ridgeway voted for the ban but said they were concerned that the Police Department would be burdened with complaints from beachgoers who spot smokers.

Under the ordinance, officers would issue a citation when they observed someone violating the ban. The fine for the first offense would be $50; for the second, $100; and $200 for each subsequent offense.

Bromberg said he hopes that the estimate of people who would obey the ordinance -- 85% -- holds up.

"It's going to be on the honor system, that's the bottom line," Bromberg said. "I would hate to see City Hall or the Police Department flooded with phone calls saying you're not enforcing your own ordinance."

The ordinance also aims to rid the beaches of thousands of cigarette butts left in the sand.

If approved, the city would earmark $19,000 for receptacles and signs on the beaches, piers and elsewhere that spell out the ordinance and encourage smokers to dump their butts and ashes there instead of on the beach.

Smoking is currently prohibited in restaurants and bars, on or near playgrounds, at entranceways to public buildings, in restrooms, buildings and vehicles owned by the city.

If the ordinance passes, smoking would also be banned at Balboa and Newport piers; public floats and piers; oceanfront beaches, including Corona del Mar and Little Corona; the boardwalk on Oceanfront Avenue; the boardwalk on Balboa Island; Balboa Island Beach; the boardwalk on Little Balboa Island; Lido Isle Beach; 15th Street Beach; 19th Street Bay Beach; Rhine Wharf; North Star Beach; Pirates Cove and China Cove beaches; the Wedge; N Street Bay Beach; 10th Street Bay Beach; Marina Park Beach; and Inspiration and Lookout points.

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