Tag Archives: local news

Merry Christmas, Not a Holiday, Wishes

Friday December 25, 2009

  • MERRY CHRISTMAS!
  • Work with the crane on Esplanade got started bright and early, 7:00. We can’t see the water’s edge from here, so I can’t tell if the trucks are carrying rock down on the new beach road.
  • Latest speculation / wishful thinking heard in the neighborhood: move the building back towards the street.
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Long Term Displacement + Property Map

Wednesday December 23, 2009

  • 11:30 PM. San Mateo County Times Pacifica Evacuees may be displaced for year or more. The further reduction of the cliff tops behind 330 had been mentioned in other stories but in this one it is a central factor in renewed concerns for the habitability of 330 Esplanade. Apparently so much cliff has dropped away that you can see straight down onto the beach in places. This much loss of the cliff top invalidates existing plans for walls and rock, and may make the entire remediation project too expensive.
  • 11:15 PM. KGO-TV 7 Crews make progress on Pacifica cliff. Rush to get the rip rap in place before the next series of storms comes in next week. Seems to be succeeding. The engineer called the rip rap “the rock butress” – something to investigate.
  • 4:20 PM. In a story from last night KTVU.com reported residents will not be allowed to return until a permanent fix is in place – April at the earliest. Just days ago it had seemed they might return once the temporary fix was completed (before the end of the year). I may be wrong, but this seems to move the debate about payment for the fix to the fore. Evacuated Pacifica Residents May Not Be Able To Move Back Until April
  • 4:00 PM. KGO 7. In a story released at about 1:00 this afternoon, KGO reported Crews complete road down crumbling Pacifica cliff and that one of the cranes up on Esplanade will depart. Good picture with the story. While the wind was blowing hard enough to stop work this road seemed essential but by now, according to the story, about 80% of the work is done. If true, it’s hard to see how the road saves any work.
  • Just found this days-old item in the KGO 7 “live video” archive: Crews work into the night to place rocks. Video shows the process of placing a rock on the beach, then the crane lifting the rock box back to Esplanade for an excavator to load another rock.
  • More pictures from the work on Esplanade: Equipment on Esplanade – Photo Gallery
  • Thinking about the Zillow property map I found yesterday, I decided to track down a more official map of some sort. I finally found a good one at the San Mateo County Assessor Maps Retrieval System. The search returned a large compressed TIFF, and in hopes of making it a bit more accessible I’ve reduced it in size. Since the reason for the curiosity about property lines is to understand the reports of conflict among the Esplanade property owners about financial responsibilities for the cliff remediation, I’ve shaded the 360 Esplanade property area green, and 330 Esplanade in yellow. (Click the image for a larger version. Click the right side of an image for the next one.)
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Equipment on Esplanade – Photo Gallery

This post is part of my coverage of the cliff erosion and collapse at 330 Esplanade Ave, Pacifica. For a complete chronology and links to many photos see Evacuation underway at 330 Esplanade.)

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High Wind and Estimate of Property Values

Tuesday December 22, 2009

  • 10:50 PM I found a rough map of the property lines that showed the beach front is actually a part of 360 Esplanade. In this diagram from Zillow.com, a real estate marketplace properties are labeled with estimated values:
    $1.38M – 330 Esplanade
    $1.24M – 340 Esplanade
    $1.33M – 350 Esplanade
    $3.1M – 360 Esplanade
  • 6:30 PM. Pacifica Riptide: Opinion: Beach Armor—Sea Walls Fail to Protect. I agree with the point made by this author, but in the midst of this crisis she chooses not to provide any particular cautions or advice. Probably wise. Anyway the point seems to be: “Every beach that is “armored” will lose near-beach habitat, so that in 10 to 20 years the beach will erode completely. … Instead of trying to hold back the sea (an impossibility), we should plan for habitat to “migrate,” and work around it. The general public will not approve using federal tax monies to keep out the ocean.”
  • 6:30 PM. Windy this morning, crews not working the cranes. KGO-TV 7 Winds slow crews working on Pacifica cliff. Video shows good progress on finishing the access road down from Manor and Esplanade, and the weather makes it clear why the road is needed.
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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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Excavator at Rock Pile – Photo Gallery

This post is part of my coverage of the cliff erosion and collapse at 330 Esplanade Ave, Pacifica. For a complete chronology and links to many photos see Evacuation underway at 330 Esplanade.)

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Santa Rosa Crane Crashes into House

Photo Credit: Christopher Chung / PD

As the cranes work above the buildings on Esplanade Ave in Pacifica, I remembered the recent crane accident in Santa Rosa.

PressDemocrat.com:

Workers attempt to remove a 100,000-pound crane, that fell into a Santa Rosa home on Molly Court, on Tuesday, November 17, 2009. The crane sliced into Michelle and Kevin McCarthy’s Santa Rosa home yesterday while trying to remove a 150-year-old tree.

Crane Crashes into House, Photo Gallery

(NOTE: This post is part of my coverage of the cliff erosion and collapse at 330 Esplanade Ave, Pacifica. For a complete chronology and links to many photos see Evacuation underway at 330 Esplanade.)

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Sunday December 20, 8:53 PM

Sunday December 20, 8:53 PM

  • Crews returned to work at about 7:00 AM Saturday and Sunday, continuing the painstaking process of building a rip rap rock barricade at the base of the sea cliff behind endangered 330 Esplanade Ave. A second crane joined the project Saturday. According to a crew member at the site, the second crane is doing the same basic task of putting rock at the base of the cliff, but is focused just to the south, below 340 Esplanade Ave. Both cranes carefully lift steel boxes of 3 to 4 ton rocks off the street then hoist them over the evacuated 330 building. Crew members again confirmed that these crane operations are the reason that apartment building was “red tagged” as unsafe for human occupancy (not due to a change in the cliff conditions as reported in the media). I’ll have my pictures from the weekend up in the next day or so.
  • Pacifica Riptide, Life on the Edge @ Esplanade: Gravity & Erosion, link to a virtual tour with three views made Friday. Direct link to the VR on Bay Area VR | 360° Virtual Tour Provider at Virtual Tour of Esplanade Avenue Where Apartments are Falling.
  • US Geological Survey archive of the 1997-98 El Niño Coastal Monitoring Program, Esplanade Drive, Pacifica. From that page: “Nine homes have been red-tagged in most critical area of coastal land loss in Central California. The cliffs here have been retreating at an average rate of about 2 feet/year since 1950, but retreated over 30 feet during two weeks in February 1998. Attempts were made in early January to emplace a seawall at the base of the cliffs. Winter storms rolled in and left the machinery stranded. Seven of these 9 homes have now been demolished.”
  • Interesting article on a national aggregation site, Examiner.com by local TV meteorologist Rob Mayeda (KNTV 11), see Crumbling coastline: Pacifica’s problems nothing new to the California coast (or just scroll down the page a bit).
  • Not much of note seemed to make it into the news today… mostly more of the same.
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Evacuation underway at 330 Esplanade

6 feet of remaining cliff top behind 330 Esplanade Ave, Pacifica




This post contains the chronology of events since the evacuation of 330 Esplanade, Pacifica due to sea-cliff erosion began at about 7:30 AM December 17, 2009. Police were on the scene and a high surf advisory coincided with high tide, adding to concerns.I update this post with new items at the top, and create and link to new posts as needed.

Scroll down to read the chronology, and click the MORE link for the full story and links to additional detail and photos. You can see all of my Esplanade-related posts on one page here: Esplanade. See all of my pictures on Flickr Evacuations at 330 Esplanade, Pacifica CA.

Related stories:

Read on for the history going back to the original dirt fall and evacuation on December 17, 2009…

[…]

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Esplanade Apartment Tenants Flee Crumbling Cliff

Technically true, possibly. Not the real message for me though… the real message was that a temporary rock wall should be in place in two to three weeks.

Video on KTVU-TV via Pacifica Riptide Esplanade Apartment Tenants Flee Crumbling Cliff.

(NOTE: This post is part of my coverage of the cliff erosion and collapse at 330 Esplanade Ave, Pacifica. For a complete chronology and links to many photos see Evacuation underway at 330 Esplanade.)

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Millwood Ranch Busted: Filled Creek with Debris

Information about the Pacifica landlord who owns buildings along Esplanade. Overall I’ve heard that he’s responsive to tenant concerns, etc. I’ve heard some frustrated complaints about him, but I’ve not been closely enough involved to judge for myself. The story:

A ranch owner has run afoul of city, state and federal laws by building several horse structures without a permit and endangering local wildlife habitat by illegally filling a creek with construction debris, according to officials.

Millard Tong founded Millwood Ranch four years ago, a 166-acre horse boarding and riding facility tucked into the hills behind Pacifica’s Linda Mar neighborhood. In the past year and a half, he has received five stop-work orders from Pacifica building officials for illegal construction work, ranging from July 2008 to November 2009. Tong finally halted his construction work on Nov. 4 after city officials arrived with…

Tong does has his own version of the story but it does sound like he’s naive and new to California and the Bay Area, or willful and self-centered, or both. At any rate we need more information to really judge:

“My impression was that a lot of structures we put up, like fencing and shelter for horses, were part the business of being on agricultural land. I was mistaken, so we stopped work and the city is reviewing the plans… (And) from the first time that the Water Quality Control Board came out and told me that pushing dirt in the creek was not legal, I stopped.”

Tong continues to believe that he should not have to apply for permits for activities like road maintenance and grading, which he says are part of the everyday duties of managing a ranch.

“There’s a lot of other work — cleaning the pastures, maintaining the fences, which are part of our work here. This ranch is not just a couple acres. There’s a lot of fire roads that have to be repaired. I can’t stop.”

From Inside the Bay Area (Pacifica rancher in trouble for filling creek with construction debris)

Thanks to Pacifica Riptide (Millwood Ranch Busted: Filled Creek with Debris).

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