YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Experts Hired to Solve Subsidence in Hillside : CRA Outlines Procedures to Fix Problem of Sinking Monterey Hills Condo Complexes

May 18, 1986|DAVID M. KINCHEN | Times Staff Writer

The case of the sinking condominiums in the Monterey Hills area is in the hands of geologists and structural engineers, and another meeting with homeowners there will be arranged by the Community Redevelopment Agency.

This is the word from Raul Escobedo, project operations official at the agency which developed the 211-acre planned residential community five miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles.

Escobedo, who answered questions from more than 200 Monterey Hills residents at a May 7 meeting, said that the next meeting will be held within 45 days.

"Right now, our geologist, Jim Slosson of Slosson & Associates, and our structural engineer, John Kariotis of Kariotis Structural Engineer Associates, are analyzing the problem to find ways of fixing it," Escobedo said.

The city agency; the former developer, J & D Carley Corp., and the present developer, California Coast Development Group, are all being sued by homeowner groups in the area.

Escobedo said that the ground has sunk as much as 12 inches, with virtually all of the signs of settlement in subterranean garages. So far, no units have been declared unfit for habitation, he added.

"The wood-frame portion of the buildings has sufficient flexibility to prevent severe damage to the buildings, as far as we have been able to determine," he added.

Escobedo said that three of the developments in the project area--Eaton Crest, Temple Terrace and Huntington Terrace--have shown signs of subsidence. These three represent a total of 325 dwelling units.

There are 19 completed projects in the area with a total of 1,368 units, he added. Two more projects with a total of 243 units are under construction.

Gay Havens at Slosson & Associates, Van Nuys, said that the three developments are the only ones that so far have "documented data" showing damage from subsidence.

Michael de la Torre of Councilman Richard Alatorre's El Sereno district office said that there is reason to expect the possibility of subsidence damage in three additional projects: Drake Terrace, Catalina Terrace and Fremont Villas.

Don Davis, the manager of Eaton Crest Homeowner Assn., said that it was his understanding that any project built on filled land could be subject to subsidence. He said that Hudson Terrace and Muir Terrace could also be subject to subsidence damage.

Eight of the homeowner associations in Monterey Hills have hired an engineer to investigate possible damage, he added.

Sol Shye, chairman of California Coast Development Group, which bought out J & D Carley Corp. in 1984, said that the problem appears to be due to improper compaction of the soil in the filled-in canyons. He added that the Community Redevelopment Agency handled the soil compaction in the 1970s, before the Carley firm became involved in Monterey Hills in 1975.

Shye, who was president of the California unit of the Madison, Wis.-based Carley firm, said he believes that most of the subsidence damage can be fixed relatively easily.

Shye said that the firm's last three projects in Monterey Hills have been built with foundations based on bedrock, in some cases 80 feet below the soil level.

Monterey Hills will have about 1,700 apartments, condominiums and town houses when it is completed, he added. One of the first persons to buy a unit was Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl F. Gates. Another prominent resident is Alatorre, in whose district the redevelopment project is located.

Los Angeles Times Articles