More erosion threatens Pacifica condo

A third apartment building in Pacifica may be red-tagged on Thursday afternoon.

April 15, 2010 6:39:31 PM PDT
The cliffs beneath Esplanade Avenue have crumbled again, putting more apartments and tenants in possible danger. Last weekend' s large surf jarred more of the fragile sandstone from beneath 320 Esplanade, exposing the building's foundation.

The collapse took a deck with it, which in turn pulled reinforcing protective concrete from beneath the building next door.

"We can repair that," said Tony Fortunato, who has run the project for Engineered Soil Repair. "If the owner of 320 Esplanade had put the reinforcing concrete beneath his building, we wouldn't have this problem, now."

This latest development drew Pacifica city officials to the apartments, this morning. City Manager Stephen Rhodes joined City Engineer Doug Rider in an inspection of the damage, and some small cracks that have appeared in the foundation. Pacifica is considering red-tagging the building.

"Our first concern is safety of the residents," said Rhodes. "If they need to evacuate, we want to be able to get them out in time." "We're getting close to that point," said Rider, who must weigh engineering and geological factors before making his decision. He did not expect such a decision, today.

Half of 320 Esplanade remains occupied on the north end. Among those residents, Rick Jenkins has moved twice, already. "I will stay here as long as I can," he said. "This is discouraging."

Restoration work stopped on the cliff in the mid-February.

"It was a matter of funding. They were hoping for federal dollars," said Fortunato. "The work was only half completed. This is disappointing, but when the work doesn't get done, it is not surprising, either."

If anyone qualifies for federal funding, it would be the City of Pacifica, and only if so much of the cliffs fall away that the damage threatens water, power, and sewer lines beneath Esplanade Avenue. "We're nowhere near that point," said Rhodes.


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