From Julia Scott, San Mateo County Times, insideBayArea.com Pacifica apartment owners feel hopeful following meeting, the lead:
Apartment owners on Esplanade Avenue agreed Wednesday in a meeting with city officials and the California Coastal Commission to collaborate in protecting their buildings from losing any more ground to systemic blufftop erosion.
After months of stalemate, the owners of more than a dozen apartment buildings and condominiums on upper Esplanade agreed to pursue a uniform engineering approach to prevent further blufftop loss, although the design is still up in the air.
The agreement to a uniform engineering approach was essential to any project that attempts to remediate the bluff behind 320 and 330. Beyond these two properties, the agreement may help to lower the overall cost by allowing contractors to reuse access roads, extend leases on rented equipment, and the like. That said, there is no indication whatsoever that there is any funding for the work, and 320 Esplanade is apparently threatened by a new June 17 deadline to show that the building can be reopened to tenants.
Ms. Scott does excellent work, and her article is highly recommended.
End of a Long Standing Conflict?
Does this agreement also signal the end to an undisclosed conflict that appeared to have played a role in the failure of last spring’s (2009) rock placement project to protect 330 Esplanade?
Or is it merely a temporary truce allowing owners to buy time and a more favorable position as they struggle to find financing to fund the projects?
Back in December we learned that the presence of a protective wall tends to concentrate and magnify the power of waves on neighboring, unprotected coastal areas. (See my post for info and links, Crumbling coastline: Pacifica’s problems nothing new to the California coast 12/20/2009.) Watching the erosion on 320 and the north end of 310 Esplanade since then confirmed the consequential erosion.
Looking at the coast below the Esplanade bluff last winter it was clear that the rock rip rap wall or revetment that had been laid at the foot of the bluff in late spring 2009 did not extend behind 330 or 350 Esplanade. This image from the California Coastal Records photo project showed this clearly (original):
Why the rock was not placed below 330 Esplanade has never been clearly explained as far as I know. We have heard that conflict among the owners, possibly related to the unusual lot boundaries, stopped the project, but this has never been really clarified.
Yet another deadline for 320, but what about 330?
Pacifica has apparently given the owners of 320 Esplanade, Millard and Alicia Tong, until June 17 to show that the building can be reopened to tenants.
Pacifica building official Doug Rider has previously indicated that more than simply repairing and replacing the stabilizing coastal bluff, repairs must make the buildings seismically fit. There has been no indication from Rider or any other official how much work or investment would be required in order for them to allow the buildings to re-open.
No mention of any deadline for the previously closed 330 Esplanade, though there must be one.