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Homeowners in Slide Area Will Split $3.6 Million to End Suit

September 10, 1987|TIM WATERS and GEORGE STEIN | Times Staff Writers

Nearly 50 property owners whose homes were damaged by landslides in the Abalone Cove area of the Palos Verdes Peninsula will split more than $3.6 million under a proposed settlement agreed to by the homeowners, Los Angeles County and Rancho Palos Verdes.

Under the agreement, the homeowners will also receive up to $150,000 in 30-year, low-interest, fixed-rate loans to repair their homes in exchange for dropping lawsuits they lodged against the county and the city eight years ago after the slide occurred.

The proposed settlement, which has already been approved by Rancho Palos Verdes, will go before the county Board of Supervisors on Sept. 29.

The proposed agreement also will end a second lawsuit in which the county sued Rancho Palos Verdes, arguing that it should not have declared the 80-acre site blighted. The county stood to lose property tax revenue, which in blighted areas may be used by cities for rehabilitation projects under state redevelopment law.

"It is a win-win-win situation," declared Rancho Palos Verdes Mayor Mel Hughes.

The key to the settlement was a cooperative agreement between the city and the county to invoke redevelopment powers to finance an attempt to stabilize the slide.

The county agreed to underwrite $5 million in bonds for a drainage system to dry out waterlogged soil that is prone to slipping along a subterranean slide plane. An additional $5 million may be used to buttress the toe of the slide where it nears the shoreline.

To pay for the bonds, the county and Rancho Palos Verdes agreed to use the redevelopment taxing powers of the city. Under the proposed terms, the county will transfer title of Abalone Cove to the city and agree to defer collecting up to $70 million in county property taxes.

While no homes are close to the beach in the slide area, many residences in the gated tree-lined area above it were damaged.

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