City inspectors keep close eye on Pacifica cliff

February 17, 2011 1:50:47 PM PST
The powerful storm brought new concerns for some people in Pacifica whose homes are on a crumbling ocean cliff. An unusually high tide is causing additional problems.

Pacifica building official Doug Rider has been studying images for the past few days, and it's the buildings sitting on those cliffs -- especially between 320 and 330 Esplanade Avenue -- that has him vigilant.

"In between those buildings... that's where you're actually seeing some activity," he said.

Rider says the boulders placed at the bottom of the cliff and the plastic tarp and drain pipes above are keeping erosion to a minimum. Ironically, two of the apartment buildings on the cliff that are red-tagged, meaning unsafe to live in, are helping protect all buildings sitting on top of the cliff.

"It really helps to have these buildings here and although two of them are vacant, they are covering the top of the cliff and they are preventing rain water from infiltrating from above," Rider said.

Just down the coast, Pacifica Pier is closed for obvious reasons, and police said they close the pier maybe 20 times a year when there's especially high surf or high winds.

If it's not taking out the earth from under your home, the sheer power of the waves can be awesome, but Pacifica resident and surfer Chris Archer feels with these conditions, it is smartest to stay on land.

"It's too rough, raw and stormy. You can see by the wind it's not a good day to ride waves. It's much better to watch on a day like this," he said.

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