Cracks in the plan

Some Balboa Way residents remain unhappy with the results of a city project they say damaged their property. One resident blames the work for foundation issues at her house. Adam Pardee / Tribune

Some lower Linda Mar residents are unhappy about restoration still to come on their homes after sewer pipes dug for the Wet Weather Equalization Basin left damage.

Jim Lange, recently retired director of Pacifica’s Senior Services, lives on Balboa Way. “We have had our claim in for one year about the EQ basin with no resolution. Our claim was denied,” he said at the Jan. 11 City Council meeting. “They offered me a driveway claim, but that would void the other claim. All my wife, Sue, and I want to do is sell the house and move out of state.”

Julie Chandler, an Anza Drive resident who lives next to Balboa Way, said the constant loud pounding or digging up of the pipes right under her house shifted her cement foundation. She made a claim to the city two years ago.

An inspector with the city came to her house in June and conducted an extensive evaluation with two drones and a structural engineer, but she has yet to hear the results. She calls the director of Public Works every month now that she is retired from her job as a bookkeeper with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.

“They said insurance was working on it and that the delay was due to the insurance company. It’s an absolute nightmare,” she said. “I’m 67 and have Stage 4 cancer. I’ve been here 30 years, raised my family here, and I am a community volunteer.

“I should not have to deal with this,” she said.

The city restored the driveway of her house and the sidewalk, as they did for others, but the issue of her shifting foundation remains.

“I want this fixed,” she said. “I think the damage is ongoing. There have been three contractors. … I feel like they have been managing us since the water main broke,” she said. “What if I want to sell the house? It’s a mess. I think my house got the brunt of it, not to mention having our neighborhood torn apart. I do think the city showed a lack of care.”

The Equalization Basin, five years in construction in the back of the community center on Crespi Drive, was completed last June at a cost of $22.8 million. It will be used to store excess storm sewage water to prevent it from getting into the ocean or flooding lower Linda Mar.

Due to faulty sewer pipe construction, Balboa Way had to be restored. That process took three years to fix, a neighbor noted.

The city describes the project as substantially complete.

“The Balboa Way Repair Project has been completed. Project scope included street pavement, westside sidewalk and curb and gutters, repaired damaged driveways and repaired underground utilities,” wrote City Manager Kevin Woodhouse in an email.

There is one outstanding insurance settlement with one homeowner; other claims are under review by the insurance company and the city, he said by email.

“The homeowner signed a full receipt and release of all claims, which generally provides that in consideration of $3,725.99 the homeowner agrees to release all claims relating to the Wet Weather Equalization Basin Project and that the settlement is not construed as an admission of liability,” Woodhouse wrote.

The final cost to restore Balboa Way is estimated at about $2 million, Woodhouse wrote, but the final cost is yet to be determined.

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(1) comment

Colm Quinn

Similar issues which SCMI left the Linda Mar/DeSolo intersection and the large, gaping sinkhole that was filled in again on DeSolo just before Linda Mar Blvd. :(

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