Plans for Rock Road, Permits and Disputes, Hopes to be Done by Christmas in Doubt

Monday December 21, 2009

  • 11:30 PM. KGO ABC-7 Crews in Pacifica race to protect crumbling cliffs.
    • Interesting quote at 1 min 52 sec: “The property lines along this stretch of oceanfront show the boundary are complicated by the fact that the owners of the apartment complex at 360 Esplanade actually own a good deal of the beach in front of three neighboring apartments to the north.” (Presumably 350, 340 and 330) “Last week when waves were slamming onto the cliffs all the property owners agreed that emergency measures were needed but now that the immediate crisis has passed the old dispute of who should pay for what has resurfaced.
    • Graphic incorrect, showed road cut down through the “dog park” north of 320. The video itself showed a bulldozer at work south of the site, near the Post Office and Chit Chat Cafe.
  • Spelunking into the history of the situation turned up some nuggets:
  • 6:50 PM. Lots to digest in a somewhat chaotic item from NBC 11, KNTV on NBCBayArea.Com: Pacifica Residents Warned of Cliff Two Years Ago. More later. The main newsworthy item in this piece appeared to be the second paragraph, “Owners of the buildings on Esplanade Drive say they had applied for a permit to build a barrier at the base of the decaying bluff as early as 2007. But a neighboring building owner’s complaint prevented the wall from being built until last Thursday.” What makes this piece seem chaotic to me was the attempt to tie several strands of history and acrimony together in too short a form. The links on that article helped me understand a little more, but I’m becoming convinced that no more than a small handful of people really know the whole story or history. A vast number of people, on the other hand, are ready with blame and recriminations. Understandable and hopefully nothing I or the people I care about will need to engage.
  • 6:45 PM. KRON-4 TV has a lengthy report in their home page video player titled “Bad Weather Monday Doesn’t Slow Pacifica Repair Efforts”. Story asserts that work will not be done until after Christmas – first time I’d heard that. No indication of actual progress made. No clear idea of whether residents will be allowed to return after the rip rap is in place.
  • 6:22 PM. San Mateo Times reports of lowered expectations for rapid return for ex-residents of 330 Esplanade but fails to provide any real news about the progress made so far. In addition, Ruby Papp, the California Coastal Commission supervisor for our area said that in March of 2009 the Commission did grant the building owner the necessary permit for cliff construction or repairs. The building owner had previously denied that they had gotten the permit. This article indicated that construction / repairs did not take place due to a disagreement with a neighboring property owner over access. See the full article on InsideBayArea.com: Cliff now stable, but Pacifica apartments still unsafe.
  • 4:15 PM. Looking through my pictures I found one that shows the problems inherent in creating and using beach access to the base of the sea cliff at 330 Esplanade:

    Beach Rock, Surf and Empty Rock Box

    The plan to bring rock and excavators along the beach needed to address the dual problems of: rock blocking the beach; and, narrow, wave-washed sand

  • 12:53 PM. CBS 5 Pacifica Cliff-Shoring Operation Delayed. Confirmed work to get equipment down on the beach. New information: trucks to carry rock directly to the beach, much faster than the cranes; rip rap (rock) placed in previous years (?) in the way, as I said there’s no room down there. Weird detail… some sort of additional wall or barrier to protect the working equipment from waves. See the video for yourself.
  • 12:40 PM. Posted a number of my pictures: Excavator at Rock Pile – Photo Gallery. See the Fickr set for all of the images.
  • 10:30 AM. Two bits of news from KGO-TV Race continues to shore-up Pacifica cliff
  • One of the excavators moving rock broke down last night. Not surprising considering how much rock they’re moving, and how heavy. The KGO news video says they’ll have another soon (perhaps already have it as of now 10:30 AM).
  • Also from the KGO report, news that a road down to the beach will be rebuilt to allow equipment, probably excavators, to position rock more precisely and quickly. The video doesn’t say where the access “road” will be, but based on what I’ve seen it has to be going down from beside the intersection of Esplanade Ave and Manor Drive, next to the Chit Chat Cafe and the Post Office (see location in Google Maps).
  • There is no beach down there at high tide, or rather I should say it’s awash, so the equipment can be down there for the middle part of each low tide twice a day.

Crane Operations Can Threaten Structures

Watching the second crane hoisting boulders from the street, over 330 Esplanade Ave, and down to the base of the sea cliff, I noticed that as it was placing rock at the beach it was extended directly over the occupied 340 Esplanade apartment building. I guess this calculated risk was acceptable since the operators knew the weight of each load as they lifted it. Still it was creepy when they stopped a load mid-lift, high above the beach, and returned it to the street to remove a boulder. A fellow spectator reminded me of the crane collapse in Santa Rosa back on November 18th: ABC (KGO 7) report 50-ton crane slams into Santa Rosa home.

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