San Mateo County

Safety Commission Upholds Pacifica's Decision to Yellow-Tag Apartments Due to Erosion

A safety commission unanimously voted Wednesday to reject an appeal by Pacifica residents who want to overturn the city's decision to yellow-tag their apartment complex.

The City of Pacifica ordered evacuations of the building at 310 Esplanade in January after geologists cited a “clear danger” because of the continuous erosion there. Wednesday's decision by the Pacifica Emergency Preparedness and Safety Commission comes a week after the city demolished an apartment on a crumbling cliff.

“We are pleased by the Commission’s decision to uphold the mandatory evacuation of the 310 Esplanade apartments,” Pacifica City Manager Lorie Tinfow said in a statement. “Their decision validates our assessment that the worsening conditions on the bluffs posed an imminent risk to residents and left the structure unsafe for residents – particularly in the event of an earthquake or other unforeseen disaster.”

Pacifica Chief Building Official Mike Cully “yellow tagged” apartments at 310 Esplanade Ave. on Jan. 25, and declared the structures uninhabitable after El Nino-related storms caused wave-driven erosion of the nearby bluffs. A yellow-tag designation means residents are allowed to access the buildings only to remove belongings.

Lana King was one of several apartment tenants who spoke at Wednesday's Pacifica Emergency Preparedness and Safety Commission meeting.

"I never thought I'd be homeless," she said.

For King, Wednesday's decision was devastating.

"They got it wrong...I die happy if I die there. I love the place," she said.

The building owner said he plans to appeal the commission's decision. He plans to file that appeal with the San Mateo County Superior Court.

In the meantime, the apartments will remain off limits.

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