Pipe prompts new complaints 

A storm is brewing over an aboveground storm drain pipe, 18 inches across, that runs from Olympian Way to Livingston Avenue, which has become a cause for complaint due to its unsightliness.

Assistant Planner Kathryn Farbstein said that some Livingston Avenue residents have complained that not only is the drainpipe ugly, but it may encourage children and vandals to crawl through it. The city is considering adding plants around it to hide the pipe.

The city recently completed construction of a 10-foot-tall, 160-foot-long retaining wall along a hill in front of Olympian Way, in the Pedro Point area of town, after complaints about the dirt were received. To improve water flow in heavy storms, the 130-foot-long storm drain was also constructed in December as part of the project.

Despite Pacifica’s coastal location, the state Coastal Commission does not like the city to rely too much on retaining walls along waterfront property, saying they are aesthetically unappealing and lead to an "armoring of the coast," Farbstein said.

"They’re very against what is essentially walling the coast in," Farbstein said.

Olympian Way is essentially carved into a steep hillside, with developments located above and below it.

Farbstein said the city received a number of complaints about dirt falling from above, which has caused no reported injuries or accidents but is considered a nuisance.

Severe weather conditions from December 2005 through April 2006 caused much debris to flow at Olympian Way — and elsewhere on the Peninsula — prompting the city to address the issue.

Olympian Way resident Karl Baldwin said the area always suffered slides in heavy rain, and it made for fairly unpleasant driving or walking. But since the wall went up and was tested with the rain that hit the Peninsula this winter, the situation has improved, he said.

Fallen dirt blocking the already narrow Olympian Way is an event of the past, much to the relief of people who had to deal with it for years.

Pacifica’s steep, varied topography makes the city no stranger to weather-related slides. A 2005 Association of Bay Area Governments report found that the city has been a prime area for landslides due to its relatively young and less tightly packed dirt, which is composed mostly of sand and silt, according to U.S. Geological Survey geologist Robert McLaughlin.


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