Residents blame new church for landslide 

A New Year’s Day landslide in Avalon Canyon has residents in the Palisades and Skyline neighborhoods saying, "I told you so" to the city and Korean Central Presbyterian Church recently built there.

City officials, however, say the church’s construction did not cause the slide, which sent approximately 180,000 cubic yards of earth down the southern half of Avalon Canyon Monday morning. The slide, about two-thirds of which landed on the beach and in the surf, occurred on a bluff below and west of the church.

The slide was no surprise to some nearby residents who opposed the 2005 construction of the church, which replaced a Buddhist center, because of concerns about the stability of the hill and the building’s size.

"I don’t know what can be done. [The city and church] have already done the damage," said Jo Ann Babcock, who has lived on Northridge Drive for more than 30 years.

The Jan. 1 slide occurred within a landslide zone mapped after aDecember 2003 slide that saw 500,000 cubic yards within a 200-foot-wide bluff face come loose, Daly City Manager Pat Martel said.

The slide doesn’t pose any additional threat to residents near Northridge Park and Northridge Drive or the Avalon Canyon stormwater drainage system, Martel said. The cause is unknown, but Martel said the church didn’t cause the slide, and consultants have been called in to evaluate the recent activity.

Representatives from the Korean Central Presbyterian Church did not return calls for comment.

In 1997, following the El Niño storms, a major slide took out the Avalon Canyon storm drain system and reached Avalon Drive.

The canyon was reengineered and refilled, Martel said. Some residents, including Babcock, believe troubles with the land have only occurred after the reengineering of the canyon, but Martel dismissed such comments.

"That erosion has been going on forever, and that’s what resulted in the system being washed out," Martel said.

Elsewhere, in Broadmoor Village, unincorporated land inside Daly City, Multisource Realty’s Stan Brody said he would post a $1 million bond for a temporary restraining order keeping San Mateo County from tearing down his house at 606 Larchmont Dr.

Last April, 606 Larchmont sunk approximately 25 feet and slid about 10 feet to the west during a mudslide. That slide displaced part of the hillside and threatened a handful of homes below it on MacArthur Drive.

The bond was due Dec. 15, but Brody said he’d post it by Jan. 9 when a judge will either issue a permanent injunction stopping demolition or allow the home to be torn down.

dsmith@examiner.com

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