Rainwater Continues to Undermine Esplanade Buildings

News of additional erosion under one or more buildings along Esplanade brought out both TV and print reporters and residents were treated to a hovering helicopter and a news van with bright lights on the dark street. We’re waiting for up to pictures of our own, so for now we’re using a picture taken back on December 1, 2010.

Julia Scott’s story, As Pacifica cliff crumbles, city scrambles for plan B, (San Mateo Times via MercuryNews.com) makes plain the dilemma facing Pacifica officials: how long to wait for the owners to take action before condemning the buildings. Scott learned that the vacant buildings are not in imminent danger of collapse. According to Pacifica Building official Doug Rider’s estimate another “30 or 40 feet” of bluff would need to disappear before they really start to “teeter and fall over.” Note that elsewhere in the story a much more dramatic, but WRONG, assessment of the damage was made by a building’s manger who indicated that one-third of a building is unsupported. Both 320 Esplanade, seen on the left of this photo, and 330 Esplanade (right) have experienced loss of supporting soil.

Amy Hollyfield’s video piece Rains cause more damage to Pacifica apartments (KGO-TV 7 ABC) reported that a building official with the city of Pacifica (possibly Doug Rider) said the piece that fell out was small, nothing too dramatic, but he said the building owner needs to do something to stop the erosion of the bluff.

Meanwhile Pacifica is waiting for the owners to take action, an indication that owners intend to abandon the properties, or for the buildings to become a hazard.

My prediction: the building owners will “walk away” (allow the building loans to foreclose, go bankrupt, etc.) and Pacifica will have to pay for the demolition and removal of the buildings.

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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