Tag Archives: esplanade

US Army Corp of Engineers, Continuing Authorities Program, Section 103

During the Study Session hosted by the Pacifica City Council on February 10th, one of the possible funding sources that was discussed was an Army Corp of Engineers program called “Section 103”. You can see Section 103 for yourself here, or hit the More link below for the full text.

After passing a pre-selection assessment, a municipality can request a feasibility study. The first $100K of the study is fully Federally funded, but all work after that is paid in a cost sharing arrangement with the local municipality responsible for 35% to 50% of the total, and a cap of $3 million.

The sense at the Study Session was that no solution that might require funds from Pacifica could be considered. It is possible that the Army Corp of Engineers could start a study with no promise of actually doing the work, as was reported in the Feb. 18 Pacifica Tribune story on MercuryNews.com Cliff issues explored in city study session; Agencies offer assistance explaining procedures and permits. This seemed unworkable at the Study Session, though I suppose nothing was ultimately ruled out.

The full text of Section 103, surprisingly readable, follows:

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Weekend Update – February 22, 2010

Monday February 22, 2010 – Weekend Update

  • City Council Meeting Agenda items:
    • Adopt Proclamation Confirming Existence of a Local Emergency (Proposed action: adopt proclamation confirming existence of local emergency). For more information see my post Pacifica Declares Local State Of Emergency.
    • Adoption of Resolution Initiating Historic Landmark Designation Process for the Dollaradio Station, 100 Palmetto Avenue (Assessor Parcel Number 009-401-060) (Proposed action: move that the City Council adopt the resolution next in order initiating the historic landmark designation process for the Dollaradio Station). The Dollar Radio (Dollaradio) property on Palmetto Ave. does have an interesting history, see my post Sampling Dollar Radio’s History.
    • Both of these actions seem to be intended to make it easier for property owners to obtain funding outside of the municipal government or local agencies.
  • During the Study Session hosted by the Pacifica City Council on February 10th, one of the possible funding sources that was discussed was an Army Corp of Engineers program called “Section 103?. The main drawback of the Section 103 program seemed to be that even though an initial project analysis could be funded with federal monies, 35% to 50% of the overall expense would have to be paid by Pacifica or a local agency. The consensus at the Study Session seemed to be that requirement for local funding was a non-starter. You can see Section 103 at my post US Army Corp of Engineers, Continuing Authorities Program, Section 103.
  • Work behind 330 Esplanade stopped Monday or Tuesday 2/15 or 2/16, and the crane required to do the work was removed. Some people may be happy for the peace and quiet, but the very real problems faced by the remaining residents and landlords are just waiting to get worse.

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

http://adequatebird.com/2009/12/17/evacuation-underway-at-330-esplanade/

See all of my pictures of the Esplanade crisis:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisd2006/collections/72157622920945823/

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City Declares Local Emergency by proclamation on February 16, 2010 for Esplanade area

Pacifica has posted Tuesday’s Proclamation of Emergency to its website: City Declares Local Emergency by proclamation on February 16, 2010 for Esplanade area (PDF Link). Key phrase:

To deal with this threat the City is requesting a Federal Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster declaration so as to qualify the owners for SBA assistance to shore up the properties

Use the link above to see the original PDF file on the Pacifica website, or click “More” to read the text of the Proclamation here.

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Sampling Dollar Radio’s History

One of the properties threatened by this winter’s bluff erosion event is the historic site of Mussel Rock, 6XBB / KTK: Dollar Radio (Dollaradio), an early radio communication site with many notable “firsts” in communications with ships in the Pacific. Long time owner Joan Levin is urgently seeking financial help for her historic home. Dollar Radio is located just north of the Pacific View Villas condo complex on Palmetto Ave. How historic is Dollar Radio?

Dollar Radio played a meaningful role in a number of historic events. Here is some information about just three of them.

  • Admiral Byrd South Pole Expedition
  • Electronic warfare with the Japanese before Pearl Harbor
  • Submarine Attack

Admiral Byrd South Pole Expedition

The three radio towers at Little America, 1929, Richard E. Byrd Papers, #7801_15.

From the Maritime Radio Historical Society, The Robert Dollar Story, Part 1 – By Edward Prather:

Admiral Richard E. Byrd took H & K equipment on his expedition to the South Pole in 1929. After he reached Little America, and set up his radio station 30 feet below the snow, he began communication with the Dollaradio station at Mussel Rock. Night after night the operator on duty would copy material from Admiral Byrd for relay to the New York Times for publication in the morning newspaper.

BYRD ANTARTIC PLANE

Electronic warfare with the Japanese before Pearl Harbor

The Dollar Radio site operated as station KTK before World War II, and one occasion deliberately interfered with a Japanese transmission.

Communication Intelligence Summary, 21 October, 1941 

General. — Traffic volume returned to about normal today. There was no
dummy messages in the TOKYO broadcast. Last night this TOKYO to Fleet
Circuit was interfered with by station KTK (Mussel Rock, California, Globe
Wireless). This interference also bothered the Japanese for TOKYO shifted
his frequency down 10 Kcs. to avoid it.

Source: Pearl Harbor attack : hearings before the Joint Committee on the investigation of the Pearl Harbor attack, Congress of the United States, Seventy-ninth Congress, first session, pursuant to S. Con. Res. 27, 79th Congress, a concurrent resolution authorizing an investigation of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and events and circumstances relating thereto .. (1946). Archive.org link.

Submarine Attack

Japanese RO-33 submarine. Date unknown, but before 1942. Source N. Polmar, D. Carpenter. Submarines of the Imperial Japanese Navy 1904—1945. — Conway Maritime Press, 1986

FROM: Radio Spies, Bart Lee, 2002, 2006, page 76:

On December 7, 1941, the radiomen at KFS heard, on 500 khz, the signal for submarine spotted (SSSS SSSS SSSS) then an S O S, then silence. Globe Wireless operators at KTK, at nearby Mussel Rock in Pacifica, also took the traffic. The ether thus carried some of the first signals of America’s Pacific war.

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

http://adequatebird.com/2009/12/17/evacuation-underway-at-330-esplanade/

See all of my pictures of the Esplanade crisis:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisd2006/collections/72157622920945823/

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Pacifica Declares Local State Of Emergency

City manager Stephen Rhodes declared a state of emergency Wednesday to help building owners affected by cliff erosion seek low-interest loans to cover expensive bluff repair work. Pacifica City Councilwoman Mary Ann Nihart explained the decision:

We’re not in a position right now where our streets or utilities are going to be immediately at risk, but we wanted to help the property owners as much as possible.

The city’s proclamation covers an the area from Manor Drive to Muscle Rock on Palmetto Ave., and must be approved at various governmental levels up to and including the Governor. If approved, it would allow: owners to apply for low-interest Small Business Administration loans; and, additional work to be undertaken immediately without the Coastal Commission’s approval.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has repeatedly denied the Esplanade area’s elibility for aide due to the threat being to only private property, and to long-standing pre-existing conditions.

Sources:

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

http://adequatebird.com/2009/12/17/evacuation-underway-at-330-esplanade/

See all of my pictures of the Esplanade crisis:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisd2006/collections/72157622920945823/

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Two More Property Owners Take Action

According to today’s KGO-TV 7 (ABC) story Crumbling cliff in Pacifica prompts new precautions, two more owners are taking action to delay or stop the erosion that threatens their properties along the bluffs in Pacifica.

  • Lands End is reported to have received a permit to build a rock rip rap wall at the base of the bluff below their property. (Story does not say but I presume it was an emergency permit granted by the Coastal Commission.)
  • Work is also reported to be starting at Joan Levin’s home, north of Esplanade on Palmetto Ave near Muscle Rock. According to the story crews are drilling 23, 50 feet deep holes and planting in reinforcing steel and concrete columns. I’m not sure why this owner is NOT having a rock rip rap wall built below her propery. Tony Fortunato described the work:

To buy her time, it’s not a total fix, what it is buying her time. Hopefully in a couple of years they can make a decision. She has a lot of property here, she can move back. They are talking about moving to a house down the road possibly – something like that.

Meanwhile I have heard that the owner of 310 & 320 Esplanade will have bluff reinforcement work begin on his properties shortly.

No word on the status of the Pacific View Villas condo complex on Palmetto Ave.

More on Dollar Radio (Dollaradio)

Joan Levin owns a historic home just north of Pacific View Villas condo complex on Palmetto Ave. The property was once site of Mussel Rock, 6XBB: Dollar Radio (Dollaradio), an early radio communication site with many notable “firsts” in communications with ships in the Pacific. The original tiny 20 feet square wooden structures were replaced with red brick buildings in about 1930. The two 225+ foot tall towers were demolished in the 40’s, but one brick building lives on as part of the residence.

Joan Levin has established (or is still working to establish) a non-profit foundation to underwrite the rescue of the Doallardio property. More information:

See all of my pictures of the Esplanade crisis:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisd2006/collections/72157622920945823/

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

http://adequatebird.com/2009/12/17/evacuation-underway-at-330-esplanade/

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No further damage to Pacifica cliffs


Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kristiewells/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The high surf was the headline this weekend. Also this weekend workers took a well-deserved rest and there’s word that work will begin behind 320 Esplanade and Lands End may receive a permit to begin work soon. There has no news regarding the properties north of Lands End along Palmetto Avenue.

High Surf

The Mavericks Surf competition saw waves over 40 feet tall, but at Esplanade, away from the uniquely ramped sea-floor topology at the break, the waves were a much more manageable 18 to 20 feet. Even combined with high tide, the waves washed harmlessly at the 30+ foot tall rock rip rap revetment at the base of the Esplanade bluffs.

Current and Future Work Along Esplanade

Referring to the buildings and the work of the team he is overseeing, Tony Fortunato said

They held up well. We have most of the flashing in under the cliff, now, but not the finishing coat.

Fortunato expects to begin similar work beneath the apartments of 320 Esplanade in the near future.

They’re at the point where the other apartments were when they needed work.

Lands End

According to the KGO-TV 7 (ABC) story No further damage to Pacifica cliffs (2/15/2010) the owners of Lands End are close to receiving a permit from the California Coastal Commission for work beneath their crumbling cliffs, as well. At this point I do not know what would cause any delay, since the Coastal Commission has seemed to turn around emergency permit applications quickly.

Note that the text on the KGO-TV web page is current as of February 15th, but the video is old and dates back to January 25th.

See all of my pictures of the Esplanade crisis:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisd2006/collections/72157622920945823/

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

http://adequatebird.com/2009/12/17/evacuation-underway-at-330-esplanade/

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California Coastal Commission Meeting Feb 10, 2010

Frames grabbed from the video of the California Coastal Commission Meeting Feb 10, 2010. You can see the agenda with links to the corresponding segment of the archive video here. You can see a list of all of the archived videos on the CAL-SPAN Coastal Commission Archive page.

Highlights of the meeting:

  • 310-330 Esplanade Esplanade, Pacifica. Emergency Permits. For full details see my post Emergency Permits Approved for 320, 330 and 360 Esplanade
  • Blurry plan of soil nail wall design
  • 330 Esplanade photo showing full height of bluff covered in shot crete
  • Lands End coastline diagram showing bluff line from 1943, 1965, 1973, 2005 (?), 2010. Shows the encroachment on building 112 clearly.

Click any picture to see a larger version. Click the left or right side of a picture for the next in the set.

See all of my pictures of the Esplanade crisis:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisd2006/collections/72157622920945823/

For a complete chronology and links to many more photos see Evacuation underway at 330 Esplanade.
http://adequatebird.com/2009/12/17/evacuation-underway-at-330-esplanade/

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Mavericks IS ON for Saturday, February 13th

The Maverick’s Surf contest is ON for Saturday, February 13th. See MavericsSurf for details and live streams. The first heats are scheduled from 8:00 AM on.

Why We Care

Here’s the Surf Height Forecast from StormSurf.com. Note the peak of 30′ on Saturday February 13th:

The impact along Esplanade Ave could be significant:

    6.2 feet : height of high tide
  +  30 feet : forecast wave maximum height on Feb 13
  ==========
   36.2 feet : combined height of seas plus tide

OK, how about that rip rap rock piled along the base of 320 and 330 Esplanade?

     31 feet : height of rip rap rock along the base of 320 and 330 Esplanade Ave

You can do the last bit of math for yourself, I'm sure!

Our hopes and best wishes go out to the folks who still live and own property in harm’s way. We’ve moved a little bit inland, though still in the neighborhood.

(See all of my pictures of the Esplanade crisis:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisd2006/collections/72157622920945823/

For a complete chronology and links to many more photos see Evacuation underway at 330 Esplanade.
http://adequatebird.com/2009/12/17/evacuation-underway-at-330-esplanade/)

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Study Session Bluff Erosion North of Manor Drive Pacifica

Study Session Bluff Erosion North of Manor Drive Pacifica
Departments – City Manager/City Clerk
Location: City Council Chambers

Date: 2/10/2010
Time: 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

UPDATE2: I attended and will try get something written up later today. UPDATE: The session is open to the public and will be held at 2212 Beach Blvd, second floor
(I DO NOT know if this session is open to the public.)

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Emergency Permits Approved for 320, 330 and 360 Esplanade

The California Coastal Commission is scheduled to meet tomorrow, February 10 2010. The situation on Esplanade Ave in Pacifica is addressed in the Emergency Permits section of the North Central Coast District Deputy Director’s Report. Emergency Permits for 320 and 330 Esplanade have already been approved, and so has a somewhat surprising one for 360 Esplanade. I see no mention of any kind for Lands End or the dog park in front of it, nor for the Pacific View Villas condo complex on Palmetto Ave. (California Coastal Commission, Current meeting – changes monthly, Live stream of meeting)

Approval for Emergency Permit No. 2-10-004-G was granted on February 3, 2010 for Farshid Samsami (Owner, 330 Esplanade) and Millard Tong (Owner, 320 Esplanade). Approval for Emergency Permit No. 2-10-006-G was granted on February 8, 2010 for AIMCO Esplanade Apartments, LLC (Owner, 360 Esplanade).

Here is an excerpt of the Emergency Permits summary from the Deputy Director’s Report:

REPORT OF EMERGENCY PERMITS

The Executive Director has determined that the following developments do not require a coastal development permit pursuant to Section 13142 of the California Code of Regulations because the development is necessary to protect life and public property or to maintain public services.

APPLICANT

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

PROJECT LOCATION

2-10-004-G
Farshid Samsami
Millard Tong

Installation of a soil nail wall along the upper bluff
consisting of (1) 11 rows of soil nails at a depth of 45
to 50 feet, (2) two layers of shotcrete facing,
including an initial support layer up to 6 inches thick
and fiber reinforced, and a structural layer up to 8
inches thick reinforced with epoxy coasted wire
mesh, and (3) strips of drainage panels on the
exposed face of the bluff to provide drainage behind
the shotcrete facing

320 & 330 Esplanade Ave, Pacifica (San Mateo
County)

2-10-006-G
Aimco, Esplanade Avenue
Apartment, Llc, Ann: Sean
Finnegan

Installation of a soil nail wall along an approximately
40-foot long section of the upper bluff consisting of
(1) approximately 30-foot-long soil nails placed at 5-
foot vertical intervals in both the vertical and
horizontal direction, (2) a facing element such as
shotcrete with wire mesh reinforccment, and (3)
drainage panels behind the wall facing.

360 Esplanade Ave., Pacifica (San Mateo County)

You can download the February 2010 North Central Coast District Deputy Director’s Report from the California Coastal Commission website here (PDF, 8.4 MB). The full report is huge, so I created a much smaller version with only the pages related to Esplanade, and you can download it here: North Central Coast District Deputy Director’s Report, February 2010.

I’ve also generated a text-only version of the Esplanade related pages. Note that limitations in the technology involved resulted in typos and a near-complete loss of formatting. You can see that by clicking the MORE link below.

See all of my pictures of the Esplanade crisis:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisd2006/collections/72157622920945823/

For a complete chronology and links to many more photos see Evacuation underway at 330 Esplanade.
http://adequatebird.com/2009/12/17/evacuation-underway-at-330-esplanade/

[…]

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Esplanade Update – Sunday February 7, 2010

Crews have been hard at work behind 330 Esplanade, but much of the activities surrounding Esplanade Ave have been less visible. This week:

  1. Work anticipated for dog park and Lands End
  2. Work continued behind 330 Esplanade
  3. No certainty that Pacifica will allow people back into 330 Esplanade
  4. Subsidies for work sought… so far unsuccessfully
  5. Waited for decision regarding 320 Esplanade
  6. Coastal Commission $1 million fine mentioned Feb 1, 2010

Details:

1. Work anticipated for dog park and Lands End

In a January 31 story from the San Francisco Examiner: Chances of saving Pacifica apartment building increasing Tony Fortunato said that his company’s next project will likely be to save and repair…a public access point down the road from the Esplanade Avenue apartments where pounding waves are also causing erosion.

While the focus has largely been on the public access point, a grassy “dog park”, erosion has also cut into the bluff enough that residents of nearby Lands End apartments Building 112 are feeling threatened.

Before new work can begin the Coastal Commission will have to give its approval. It was my impression that the owners of Lands End may already have a permit application before the Coastal Commission for rock rip rap. Perhaps I was mistaken, or perhaps we’re still waiting for that approval. Time will tell.

2. Work continued behind 330 Esplanade

Crews continued to drill and cement 50′ rods into the bluff under 330 Esplanade. Work started at the top of the bluff in order to secure the most vulnerable part of the face first, and to make it safe enough to work lower down. As workers set each rod they cap it with a small square steel plate and spray a thin layer of cement onto the bluff all around it. At some point they will start construction of a full-height steel wall to provide more substantial support and protection to the bluff. The interior of the wall will be filled with cement, and the exterior will be coated with textured and colored cement made to resemble rock. The result should resemble the retaining walls along Route 92, etc. The project may conclude with a sea-wall of some sort at the base of the bluff.

3. No certainty that Pacifica will allow people back into 330 Esplanade

Doug Rider, Pacifica’s Chief Building Official, had been reported to say that his office would not automatically allow people to return to 330 Esplanade. His criteria for evaluating the building were not spelled out but apparently included occupant safety, earthquake security, and groundwater management. Residents I spoke with said that the prospect of a 60 foot vertical drop beneath their back patio or deck would seem unsafe. However, residents of San Francisco high-rise condos seem to like it.

4. Subsidies for work sought… so far unsuccessfully

Until now the owners of the buildings along Esplanade Ave have paid for all of the work that’s being done to save their property. The rock rip rap wall that was laid at the base of the cliff behind 330 Esplanade shortly after the initial bluff collapse on December 27th was estimated to have cost $200K to $400K. This rock was later extended to provide urgently needed protection for 320 and 310 Esplanade. The projected cost of the work on the bluff below 330 Esplanade has been estimated between $2 and $4 million.

Owners approached Pacifica for help and were rejected: nothing from the City except for critical infrastructure, not for private property. FEMA also rejected their request: a long-eroding coastal area is a pre-existing condition, not an emergency. The county and state have not rejected a request outright, but the current fiscal crisis makes it seem unlikely they have money to spare. The latest idea: get Federal stimulus money.

5. Waited for decision regarding 320 Esplanade

At this point we do not know of plans to extend the bluff remediation project to 320 Esplanade. While I do not know the reasons for this I speculated about it a bit in my post Clock is Ticking for 320 Esplanade. In addition to what I had written I’ll add that a permit for this work is already waiting before the Coastal Commission for a decision. The Commission had previously granted a permit for the rock rip rap, but nothing further. (See my post April 2009 Coastal Commission Permit Approval for Rip Rap)

I have heard it reported that the earliest the coastal commission can vote to decide if it will grant needed permits is March, but I don’t have a reference for that just now.

Note that back on December 19th and 21st I reported that 330 Esplanade would have been evacuated before crane operations could commence, even if the building had been otherwise safe. If the crane should fail or fall for some reason, it would cut the building in two. This happened in Santa Rosa back on November 18th, 2009: ABC (KGO 7) report 50-ton crane slams into Santa Rosa home.

6. Coastal Commission $1 million fine mentioned Feb 1, 2010

A $1 million fine for modifications to the coastal area without permission was mentioned in the KRON-TV 4 piece New Concerns Emerge About Cliff Behind Pacifica Apartments on Feb 1, 2010. (Note that links to stories on KRON.COM rapidly go bad. Some problem with their site…too bad.) I have not heard any more about this.

See all of my pictures of the Esplanade crisis:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisd2006/collections/72157622920945823/

For a complete chronology and links to many more photos see Evacuation underway at 330 Esplanade.
http://adequatebird.com/2009/12/17/evacuation-underway-at-330-esplanade/

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