Letter: Law Makers Are Law Breakers

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Letter to the Editor

As you reported on last week, city council’s pro-development, rubber-stamping majority approved a project that will remove 1.2 million pounds of alluvium and landslide debris in the environmentally sensitive cliffside of Big Rock to build a heavier two-story concrete subterranean home overhanging PCH almost 90 percent bigger than the average bungalow on the street. This would be the first variance for factor of safety given to any project in Big Rock since the 1983 landslide. No new house was ever allowed because of our sensitive topography. 

So, they just helped to break this law and ignored 102 residents who signed a petition to stop overdevelopment here by allowing the variance and putting our community at risk. 

California Environmental Quality Act exemptions should not apply for a multitude of reasons. All projects with added water affects the groundwater table to make it higher and destabilizes the landslide. 

All geological testing for this project is over 10 years old and based on a different footprint setback from the cliffside. This former, smaller project would be acceptable as a home that burned in the 1993 fire stood there before; however, the applicant wants a much bigger home inside the unstable cliffside. The code guidelines, however, require new testing to be completed for the new project application. And no required seismic stability testing was ever completed to be reviewed by the public and city council. 

Water usage and groundwater in the area is up and this build would pave the way for future increases. 

This will be appealed to the coastal commission and we hope they see that the codes were not followed for another large build in a geohazardous area. 

Public safety and the environment should be the No. 1 priority of our planning commission and city council, which is why codes need to be followed in these “hazard” and “protected” areas for large projects. 

Jo Drummond 

On behalf of Friends of Big Rock