Santa Cruz Mountains home on the 'edge' of creek after storm-induced erosion now red tagged

Lauren Martinez Image
Wednesday, March 29, 2023
Santa Cruz Co. home on 'edge' of creek after storm-induced erosion
Following months of storm-induced erosion, a Santa Cruz Mountains couple's house now stands on the edge above a creek.

BOULDER CREEK, Calif. (KGO) -- Following months of storm-induced erosion, a Boulder Creek couple's house that was standing on the edge above King's Creek is now red tagged.

John Liotti said he started noticing big erosion in their backyard from the storms in Jan. Their backyard overlooks King's Creek. During last Tuesday's storm, the creek swelled so high it collapsed their retaining wall.

Video is from a previous update

"The issue for us so much isn't the water runoff it's the creek. So the creek about doubled in size and what it did was, it took out the bank behind our retaining wall and it just took out the whole retaining wall in the back of the house," Liotti said.

Liotti said the erosion came from two fronts, in the front and back of the retaining wall after months of heavy rain.

"And when I say retaining wall, I'm not talking about a 2x4 wall, we're talking about what's called a gabion basket which is a 4-foot square by 10-foot basket filled with concrete rocks and stone - so I mean it's thousands of pounds," Liotti said.

Liotti said this is the worst case scenario.

"I suspect they'll red tag it, but we'll see what happens," Liotti said.

They contacted the county, a soil engineer and a contractor - all days if not weeks out from getting their expert opinion.

"So the soil engineer that I talked to said he's two weeks out before he can even drive by the place because he's so inundated with families dealing with the same situation," Liotti said.

VIDEO: Marin Co. mudslide severely damages, buckles 100-foot stretch of road next to Hwy 101

A mudslide has forced the closure of Novato's Olompali State Historic Park due to severe damage to the main road.

Liotti, along with his wife and sister, decided to rent an Airbnb in San Jose since they were unsure what Tuesday's storm was going to bring.

As far as repair costs, Liotti said their home and flood insurance won't cover this storm damage.

"Both polices specifically exclude land movement. And the flood policy specifically gets into detail where they say any movement based on water or rising rivers is excluded," Liotti said.

After five years in Boulder Creek, Liotti said he's done with the mountains.

"It's likely that we're going to have to vacate the house and we're not in a financial position to afford both rent and the mortgage. So we have some hard decisions coming up here on what we're going to do," Liotti said.

VIDEO: Trees continue to fall around Bay Area, trapping some East Bay residents

With the return of the rain and wind, fallen trees from Tuesday's storm trapped residents.

Liottis created a GoFundMe to help with the uncertainty of repair or moving costs.

They're making an effort to stay positive and handle it with a sense of humor.

"If a tree fell on our house, we would've been fine because insurance would pay for it. I was laughing, I was telling my neighbor it's like - let's just pray that a redwood falls on the house that might actually fix it for us," Liotti laughed.

Now Streaming 24/7 Click Here

If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live