Evacuation Order for 320 Esplanade

On Thursday April 29 the owner and few remaining residents of 320 Esplanade received from Pacifica a Notice of Violation / Substandard and Dangerous Building, Orders to Vacate and Repair and a deadline of Sunday May 2nd, 11:00 PM, to vacate the building. For details on the notice see my post Orders to Vacate and Repair – 320 Esplanade.

City officials from the Planning and Development Department who ordered residents to vacate the building reportedly did so out of seismic concerns, rather than for erosion caused by surf or ground-water. Residents and observers have known that the loss of the protective bluff left the building in a precarious state. Apparently the latest engineering reports called into question the viability / practicality of replacing the bluff in order to make the buildings safe.

Media coverage:

“At this point, no one can be certain that the buildings would be safe in an earthquake,” said Pacifica City Engineer Doug Rider. “Two weeks ago, they lost ten more feet of bluff between 320 and 330. It has undermined porches and foundations. If there were a large earthquake, sixty feet of bluff could fall right back to the street in an instant.”

The building, located at 320 Esplanade Ave., is next door to a property that was evacuated in December after the cliff supporting it began to fall away.

After residents evacuated 330 Esplanade Ave. in December, a private company began construction on a concrete wall to hold up the cliff. The wall was not completed due to financial constraints, Rider said. The building owners were responsible for financing the project and were unable to get supplemental money from federal agencies.

This week, rain washed away the sand behind the wall, causing it to crack and pull away from the cliff, Rider said. The building is now in danger of falling into the ocean.

For a complete chronology and links to many more photos see Evacuation underway at 330 Esplanade:


See all of my pictures of the Esplanade crisis:


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