Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Landslide Abatement Update

After nearly four months of negotiations, attorneys for the various property owners affected by the slide have finally reached an agreement in principle as to the sharing of costs associated with demolition of affected buildings and the construction of an earthen berm.  Final design specifications for the earthen berm are being prepared by Jim Nordquist of AGEC who has been retained by Gardens South as the primary geotechnical  consulting engineering firm.   The purpose of the berm is to add substantial weight to the bottom toe area of the slide area in hopes that it will slow or possibly stop the property damage caused by the slide.  AGEC assures that the berm is the most expedient solution to arresting the movement of the hillside.  
The proposed budget for the demolition and berming is as follows: 

Total: $190,000
Engineering: $40,000
Demolition:  $30,000
Asphalt Repair:  $20,000
Miscellaneous: $5,000
Berming:  $95,000 or less.

The plan is to demolish the condemned east half of Building “L” of Gardens South Condos and the condemned hotel building located behind the Claim Jumper restaurant and construct the berm where the hotel now stands and behind the Dairy Queen property.    The hope is for the earthen berm to be more permanent than temporary.  The property owners want to give it their best shot to stop the hillside movement with the berm. 
As to the Dairy Queen side, there is an agreement with the EDG Group and the DQ Group as to the placement the berm at a line approx. 23' north of the existing retaining wall.  The line is painted on the asphalt and has some curvature to it.  The berm behind DQ is to be stepped with a 5-6 foot initial lift and about a 6 foot step back before the next lift.  DQ does not want access to the drive through blocked during construction.  Most of the work may need to come through the Motel side.

As to the Motel, the berm has no similar restrictions and can go next to the North-South running building, though there may need to be rock cages or concrete blocks stacked near the North end of the building to achieve the necessary height.  The berm can then fill the area where the hotel building was.  The design will need to make sure the ally between this building and the Claim Jumper Restaurant is preserved. 
Because it is a stretch for all parties to raise the necessary cash, the most effective yet fiscally conservative berm design is desired.  Once the design is finalized, bids obtained and approved, and all consents signed by the various owners and other parties affected, the work should begin hopefully before the end of the year.  

Monies will need to be collected from the property owners and deposited to an escrow account for disbursement as work progresses. If the berm is successful in arresting the movement of the slide, each of the major property owners will then be responsible for the repairs to their respective properties.

For Gardens South, the cost will need to be spread among all condo owners.  As to the repairs of Buildings M and L, there will need to be sufficient time and evidence proving that the slide has stabilized before the City will permit work to be done on restoring the buildings.  At present, it appears that the buildings may be saved from demolition and eventually repaired.  However, the City will require that all utilities be exposed, inspected and that a structural engineer certify that the buildings are safe for occupancy before anyone can move in again.  Monies will need to be raised to fund the repairs by special assessment so that funds are available to make the repairs.  

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