Tag Archives: pacifica

Patio Removed Between 330 and 320 Esplanade

See the full size images on Flickr at: Patio Removed Between 330 and 320 Esplanade, http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisd2006/sets/72157624029799656/

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 apartment owners hopeful following meeting

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):

N37 39.19 ; W122 29.81 :: Image 200906567 :: Thu Oct 1 15:02:37 2009

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.

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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:

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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Orders to Vacate and Repair – 320 Esplanade

Taped to the front door of each apartment of 320 Esplanade today was a”Notice of Violation / Substandard and Dangerous Building” from the City of Pacifica. Following is a transcription of the first page. If anyone has a copy of the full set of the documents for me, I’d be glad to post them.

April 29, 2010

Millard W. Tong, Trustee [Responsible Person]
Alicia W. Tong, Trustee [Responsible Person]
Revocable Living Trust [Property Owner]
1499A Terra Nova Blvd.
Pacifica, CA 94044

[Copy Via Fax / (650) 898-1552]

RE: Notice of Violation / Substandard and Dangerous Building
Orders to Vacate and Repair
320 Esplanade, Pacifica / APN: 009-413-020

Dear Responsible Persons and Property Owner:

VIOLATIONS AND DETERMINATION

This apartment building violates standards in Chapter 18 [Soils and Foundations] of the 2007 California Building Code as adopted by Section 8-1.01 of the Pacifica Municipal Code. Those violations are described in Appendix 1, which is attached hereto.

I have made the following determinations due to those violations and with additional consideration of the reports of RJR Engineering Group dated April 25, 2010 and Cotton, Shires and Associates dated April 23, 2010, copies of which are attached here to and incorporated by reference.

1. This apartment building is substandard.

Applicable Statute:

California Health & Saftey Code, Section 17920.3, which states, in pertinent part, as follows:

Any building or portion thereof including any dwelling unit, guestroom or suite of rooms, or the premises on which the same is located, in which there exists any of the following listed conditions to an extent that endangers the life, limb, health, property, safety, or welfare of the public

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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Lands End Ramp, Patio at 330 Esplanade

The beach ramp for moving rock and equipment down to the beach below the Lands End “dog park”, and, more pictures of the failing bluff-top patio between 330 and 320 Esplanade Ave. Pacifica, CA.

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/

Posted in esplanade, local news, photography | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Application Before Coastal Commission for 360 & 380 Esplanade Avenue

May 2010 Agenda, North Central Coast District, Friday, May 14, 2010

http://www.coastal.ca.gov

Application No. 2-08-020 (AIMCO, Esplanade Avenue Apartments LLC, Pacifica) Application of AIMCO, Esplanade Avenue Apartments LLC, for follow-up authorization of work performed under emergency permits, including construction of (1) approximately 475 ft.-long rock riprap shoreline revetment, and (2) approximately 3,240 sq.ft., 50 ft.-high soil nail wall along approximately 40 ft.-long section of upper bluff, at 360 & 380 Esplanade Avenue, Pacifica, San Mateo County.

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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Deadline from Pacifica: Prove it or Lose it, Thursday 4/22

According to a KPIX-TV 5 (CBS) story on CBS5.COM by Joe Vazquez, Pacifica Apartments Dangle Closer To Ocean’s Edge (article
video):

The city has given the owners along Esplanade until Thursday (April 22) to come up with a new analysis to prove the buildings should stay.

Julia Scott confirmed the deadline in her San Mateo County Times story on MercuryNews.com, Parties play blame game over latest Pacifica cliff erosion. Ms. Scott reported:

Pacifica has given them (the owners of 310, 320 and 330 Esplanade) a deadline of Thursday to present a plan with evidence that the buildings can be made safe enough to occupy.

From Scott’s story: according to building representative Bart, building owners have met repeatedly to try to agree on a way forward but have not worked it out so far. “The stakes are high,” said Steve O’Connor, president of the firm hired to work on the bluff, Engineered Soil Repairs. O’Connor said, “if you don’t save these buildings, you’re endangering the buildings on the other side of Esplanade Avenue.”

Demolition Seems A Likely Outcome

The owners appear to be disagreeing on a coordinated solution to the bluff erosion problems, but I’ll bet the underlying issue is financing. The most important similarity among the owners along Esplanade is probably not the location of their buildings, but the challenges of running a profitable business as a landlord on Esplanade.

In a KTVU.COM KTVU / TV36 (FOX) story Erosion Damage Weakens Pacifica Cliff by Lloyd Lacuesta, an agent for one of the owners told (him) that they have yet to complete the attempts to shore up the cliff because they need some $2 million dollars to finish the job and can’t get a loan.

We have heard directly from the City Council that Pacifica can’t afford to buy the buildings or bail out the owners. The City of Pacifica does need to protect the street and utilities under and over it, but it can probably do that with disaster assistance funds once the privately owned apartment buildings are gone.

The scenario I expect is for 330 and 320 Esplanade to be condemned, and then the owners to be required to demolish them and remove the rubble.

KPIX-TV 5 (CBS) CBS5.COM. Raw Video: New Erosion Found at Pacifica Cliff, Tuesday April 20, 2010 1:09 PM. Chopper 5 video shows new damage at the scene of an Esplande Ave. apartment complex in Pacifica Tuesday.


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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Further bluff collapse beneath 320 Esplanade

Further bluff collapse beneath 320 Esplanade endangers more of the building.

4/16/2010

  • Photo 1. The north of 330 Esplanade showing the cement patio tilted down and opened a gap next to the 330 Esplanade deck. The green recycling can is sitting on a level, undamaged part of the patio. This was taken at the fence between 330 Esplanade on the left, and 320 Esplanade on the right. (Click an image for a larger version.)
  • Photo 2: same direction as photo, but showing the brown roof of a shed in the top third of the image. Behind you can see the two-storey deck of 330 Esplanade still standing but now the corner pole is unsupported by the soil / sand of the bluff. The angle of the patio can easily be seen in its tilt down and to the right.
  • Photo 3: detail of photo 3.
  • Photo 4: this is the right side of the patio area, with 320 Esplanade just out of sight to the right.

4/15/2010 11:30 PM

Comprehensive, sobering report from KGO-TV 7 (ABC) More Erosion Threatens Pacifica condo. The building at risk, 320 Esplanade, is apartments not condos.

4/15/2010 6:00 PM

From KGO-TV 7 (ABC): More erosion threatens Pacifica condo (Wayne Freedman).

  • According to the KGO story Pacifica Building Official Doug Rider and City Manager Stephen Rhodes inspected new damage at 320 Esplanade this morning.  Reportedly, “the collapse took a deck with it, which in turn pulled reinforcing protective concrete from beneath the building next door.” As a result small cracks have now appeared in the building foundation, and Pacifica is considering red-tagging the whole building. The story also mentions some interesting details about the attempts to find funding for the work.
  • I took a look back there this evening and the entire poured concrete patio that spans the distance between the backs of 320 and 330 slid down the bluff one to two feet, and now tilts downward about 40 degrees. Folks that are familiar with that area will remember a 4′ or 4 1/2′ wooden railing along that patio… that railing is now lower than the walkway leading out to bluff between 320 and 330.
  • There is now open space between the patio and the buildings on either side, and the entire area looks very precarious. It was pretty shocking, and at this point it looks like that a significant portion of the top of the bluff collapsed.
  • There was no way for me to see the foundation of 320 Esplanade from safely (and legally!) behind the locked gate.
  • Asked about his assessment, Tony Fortunato, the project supervisor for the teams that made the emergency repairs behind the buildings, said “We can repair that. If the owner of 320 Esplanade had put the reinforcing concrete beneath his building, we wouldn’t have this problem, now.”
  • Fortunato is clearly one of the good guys in this saga from our perspective, but from what I could see of the patio damage this quote doesn’t make sense. It is hard to understand how the failure of the top of the bluff below the patio can be attributed to any work that was or was not done below a building 20 to 30 feet from the patio.
  • Depending on the extent of the damage to the base of the bluff caused by last week’s high surf, it is possible that this collapse was caused by ground water at the top of the bluff.
  • The KRON 4 TV Video below shows the damage, though it is a little hard to understand it. I’ll post some pictures I took there this evening if any of them come out.

4/15/2010 5:30 PM

From KRON 4 TV News Video Raw Video: Cliff Continues to Erode at Pacifica Apartment Complex (KRON4.com seems to be having trouble so this may not work. If it doesn’t, try the direct link to the file below.)

  • The following video was shot from the patio running behind 330 Esplanade. The “patio” is the tilted concrete. Across the patio is 320 Esplanade. 330 has already been entirely red-tagged and evacuated. Only the 6 apartments nearest this patio have been red-tagged in 320.
  • Link to video file (MP4 format, requires QuickTime)

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 Council Agenda – Prior to the April 12, 2010 Meeting

Quite a bit of Esplanade-related activity is scheduled for consideration at Monday’s Pacifica City Council Meeting. Tip of the hat to Pacifica Riptide for drawing my attention to the Council Agenda with the post Gosh, Honey, You Bought Me a Crumbling Cliff?! You Shouldn’t Have!

Agenda details:

Aimco to Buy 330 Esplanade?

  • Scheduled for a closed session immediately before the Council Meeting is a conference with a “real property negotiator” regarding 330 Esplanade. In this case the negotiator is Pacifica City Manager Stephen Rhodes and three negotiating parties: City of Pacifica; 330 Esplanade, LLC; and, Aimco Esplanade Avenue Apartments, LLC. Description of this session from the agenda, in its entirety:

PURSUANT TO GOVERNMENT CODE SECTION 54956.8 Conference with Real Property Negotiator. Discussion concerns price and terms of payment. Agency negotiator attending session: Stephen Rhodes. Negotiating parties: City of Pacifica and 330 Esplanade, LLC and Aimco Esplanade Avenue Apartments, LLC Property: APN 009-131-030.

  • Judging by the title of the post on Pacifica Riptide (Gosh, Honey, You Bought Me a Crumbling Cliff?! You Shouldn’t Have!) they seem concerned that Pacifica is planing to buy 330 Esplanade. This seems absurdly unlikely to me given the difficult financial situation in Pacifica. Instead, my inference is that Pacifica is in some way facilitating a deal between Aimco and the current owner of 330 Esplanade.

Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, a legislative body of a local agency may hold a closed session with its negotiator prior to the purchase, sale, exchange, or lease of real property by or for the local agency to grant authority to its negotiator regarding the price and terms of payment for the purchase, sale, exchange, or lease.

However, prior to the closed session, the legislative body of the local agency shall hold an open and public session in which it identifies its negotiators, the real property or real properties which the negotiations may concern, and the person or persons with whom its negotiators may negotiate.

For purposes of this section, negotiators may be members of the legislative body of the local agency.

For purposes of this section, “lease” includes renewal or renegotiation of a lease.

Nothing in this section shall preclude a local agency from holding a closed session for discussions regarding eminent domain proceedings pursuant to Section 54956.9.

  • It does seem to apply to “purchase, sale, exchange, or lease of real property by or for the local agency.” Maybe I’m wrong and Pacifica really does want to own a near-ruined building?!
  • We have wondered where the money to finish the rehabilitation of 330 Esplanade’s property would come from. From the Aimco website: Aimco is a real estate investment trust headquartered in Denver, Colorado that owns and operates a geographically diversified portfolio of apartment communities.
  • Aimco owns 5 or more properties with 25 miles of Pacifica, and 3 in Pacifica proper (see map).

City Property Threatened by Erosion

  • A new proclamation of Local Emergency to be ratified on Monday describes:

severe cliff erosion, landslide, ground subsidence and failure of the revetment supporting the City’s storm drainage outfall structures at 380 and 400 Esplanade Avenue in Pacifica (see 04/12_2010 City Council Meeting Agenda PDF page 36)

  • This is the first time that a threat to City property has recognized by an emergency proclamation. We have long heard that City finances will start to flow if or when municipal assets are at risk, so we’re curious to see how this new chapter of the story develops.

Dollaradio Station (100 Palmetto Avenue) to be Designated Historic Landmark

  • In a follow-up to a resolution passed in the February City Council meeting (Weekend Update – February 22, 2010), an ordinance making Dollaradio an official Historic Landmark has been introduced.
  • Based on discussion at the February meeting, it appears the Historic Landmark designation will be granted in order to make it possible or easier for Joan Levin, the owner of Dollaradio, to find other sources of funding for the work to save her property.
  • Note that the work that has been done was considered temporary, granting only about another year of life to one or more of the buildings, and additional work is necessary for a more permanent fix.

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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Happenings at the Dog Park this Morning

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Uke and Friends – Friday March 26 at Chit Chat Cafe

Flicker:


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Work to Begin at 360 Esplanade

Residents of 360 Esplanade reported that on Friday March 19th they received notice that work would start this week on reinforcing the bluff to the north of 360 with soil nails. Further details:

  • Reportedly a crane will be assembled in front of 360 and operate in the driveway between 360 and 380.
  • In addition, scaffolding will be erected adjacent to the rocks on the bluff.
  • Work is expected to last 6 to 8 weeks.
  • The building management at 360 emphasized the importance of new No Trespassing signs that will be going up, and urged anyone who sees trespassers to call the building office or Pacifica police.

(360 Esplanade is highlighted in green on this map, an excerpt taken from the San Mateo County Assessor Maps Retrieval System.)

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/

Posted in esplanade, local news | Tagged , , | 2 Comments