City Says Money Goes to Homeless Not Fixing the Tramonto Slide

This is the top of the Tramonto landslide. Geologists say the entire area needs to be remediated, not just the portion the developer wants to build.

The Pacific Palisades Community Council heard a presentation by the City, the Developers (Greg Demos and expeditor Tony Russo) and Castellammare residents in a special zoom meeting May 20, about the Tramonto Landslide, which is located in the Castellammare section of Pacific Palisades.

At the end of the meeting, the council voted unanimously that a letter be sent to the City requesting an Environmental Impact Review be done before construction be allowed on the active landslide.

Two shocking statements were made by the City during the meeting. The first was about its inaction in reopening a lane of PCH, closed by the slide. The second was the City is requiring developers to preform the remediation needed on the Tramonto landslide after they buy the property.


Caltrans feels that by scraping away the toe of the slide, which has taken away a lane of traffic on Pacific Coast Highway that it will make the slide worse.

The toe of the Tramonto landslide has taken away a lane of the northbound traffic on Pacific Coast Highway since mid-February.

In a May 7 statement, Caltrans determined that most of the property near the top of the slide is privately owned and some is owned by the city of Los Angeles.

Caltrans said the dirt cannot be moved nor the road repaired until the slide is remediated.

It has been four months since the lane closure and Jeff Khau, Councilmember’s Traci Park’s planning and transportation deputy, said that office had not met with Caltrans, yet.

CTN reached out to the Councilmember’s office to ask why and received the following statement, “Remediating the Tramonto slide has been a top priority for the council office. Not only are we communicating with CalTrans, but also taking the lead on bringing together all pertinent City and State partners in communicating on the slide.”

One resident wrote CTN on May 22, “cracks on Castellammare extend up to Posetano immediately to the southwest of the main slide and continue to widen. The main slide is still moving on PCH. It seems most of the current land movement is below the lots proposed for development so attempts to stabilize those upper lots will not solve the immediate problems and all the drilling and excavating might well exacerbate slide activity on the lower area of the slide.”

Given there are two extensive studies done about remediating the slide (Moran – 1958 and URS study done with Caltrans – 2010), residents asked why the City did not remediate the hill, before selling the lots. In 2010, the estimated cost to fix the slide was $25 million.


The Tramonto landslide is outlined in red. The developers own the “purple” properties and the construction they propose would only deal with that portion of the landslide. The lots in green would need to be stabilized by further developers because the City says it does not have the money. At the bottom of the diagram is Pacific Coast Highway.

Khau said, “The City’s strategy is to sell the lots and leave the remediation to the developers,” because the City does not have the money. Khau said with this development “doing something is better than doing nothing.” He said in the past the office has taken a position in favor of this project because “taking action is needed.”

It was pointed out that the development did not address the entire slide area and that by working on only part of it, it might exacerbate other areas of the slide.


The streets in Castellammare have been neglected for decades because the City says it doesn’t have money for repairs.

Once again, Khau was questioned about why the City doesn’t have the money to remediate the slide.

He said, “The city’s priorities are the homeless.”

One person on Zoom chat wrote, “This is a stunning comment. . .guess the taxpayers and the home owners have to take the back seat  . . .yet, again.”

The City would indeed save money because the developer would bear the cost of constructing new streets (to replace those that slid away in 1950s), and repairing those that have developed large cracks over the years, installing curbing, hydrants, and sewage and electrical to that area, on what is now vacant land.

Crest Real Estate’s Russo, an expeditor, said, “We would be repairing things that have been substandard or neglected for decades.”

Russo and Demos said that the proposed four homes on 12 lots would be a “net benefit to the community,” and benefits would include a new sidewalk on Tramonto, drainage control, remediating part of the landslide and repairing and replacing the Revello roadway.

Residents felt that the impacts of construction, drilling and dirt hauling might trigger far worse consequences on the landslide and impact homes on the side of the slide, that would negate any benefits.

The Revello project received a Mitigate Negative Declaration (MND) from City planning in July 2021. The project was approved by the Westside Planning Commissioners (3-0) on November 15, 2023. It was supposed to go before the PLUM committee on May 21. Park’s office has asked the City to push that meeting back and it is now scheduled for July 31.

A MND is a statement that a project will not have a significant negative impact on the environment. Castellammare residents disagree and are asking for an EIR.


An Environmental Impact Report is required if there is substantial evidence that a project may have a significant effect on the environment as set up in CEQA, the California Environmental Quality Act.

Members of the Castellammare Homeowners Association gave a presentation that explained why an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) needed to be done by an independent party for this project click here.

After that presentation Russo disputed the need for an EIR, saying that the group of experts that had been assembled for this project had answered all the objections raised by residents.

Residents pointed out that the MND had been based on research by Stoney-Miller, who had relied on the URS report. In that report that deals with slope failure, it notes that “While drainage would likely be sufficient to slow down, even arrest, future movement of the slide mass, relying on it for re-connecting the City streets, let alone creating buildable lots for residential development, is not an option.”

The residents based a request on EIR after hiring specialists to examine the area and included: Steve Rogers Acoustics (noise & vibration impact), E.D. Michael (geology), MAT Engineering (transportation and traffic) Kazarians Engineering Services, Inc. (bulkhead) and Strumwasser & Woocher (wildfire risks).

Additionally, many of the Castellammare residents are engineers and experts in the field of geotechnical, structural and civil engineering and had studied the earlier remediation studies, including Moran (1958) and URS with Caltrans (2010).

Despite this vast amount of expertise, residents felt like neither the Council office nor City Planning were looking at the reports that had been submitted and were relying solely on the developer’s reports.

At the meeting the developer showed that landslide material was being removed so that a house pad could be built.

The developer also showed the slide below (the orange/brown is where dirt will be removed). The blue underneath the homes will be remediated by 300 caissons being drilled into the ground until they hit bedrock.

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6 Responses to City Says Money Goes to Homeless Not Fixing the Tramonto Slide

  1. Jane Abrams says:

    This is disgusting and frustrating. We pay excessive taxes to the city but get nothing in return? The homeless problem is worse than ever! Maybe we need to recall Karen Bass.

  2. David Applebaum says:

    I am an architect and about 40 years ago, I did something similar on Chalon Road in Bel Air. Before the work, the downhill neighbors had driveways and lawns full of mud after every rain and it has never happened since we did the work. One of those downhill neighbors was so happy, he even hired me to do work on his house a decade later. I do not know enough about the specifics of this particular effort to offer a definitive opinion, but from past experience I can say that removing bad dirt and recompacting new, good dirt that is tied into bedrock and done properly, as per code…. should work. It is certainly better than leaving the condition as is.

  3. Contractor says:

    Ground water tends to move toward the ocean or creeks or rivers

    Here the ground water water is going toward the ocean. It has a tendency to direct the ground the same direction as well.

    You will see this when you drive over the water seeping into the street.

    In 1983 this same thing happened when just north of the Palisades Bowl the hill moved and PCH was closed for a year plus and a few tennis courts BABC were taken to make room for the road.


  4. Aileen says:

    A sign has now appeared at 425 Mt. Holyoke near Radcliffe, a vacant “slide” lot above the children’s playground area on Temescal, Notice of Intent to develop. Developer?
    Tony Russo, the same individual that owns the 4 Castellamare lots. This new location was purchased for 3.3million September 2023. The lot, once again, is a slide area, will require extensive shoring and fill. They will be applying for a haul route.

  5. Bruce Schwartz says:

    The management of homelessness is a man made crisis that is tapping our tax dollars where we cannot even get a pothole fixed! Judge Carter needs to make the bold decisions to stop this runaway crisis!

  6. Bart Young says:

    The primary problem is the amount of ground water stored deep beneath the surface. Without proper drainage, those aquafers and cavities found hundreds of feet below the surface will fill during heavy rains and potentially trigger a massive slide onto PCH. The developer and the City of LA have not agreed to do the work needed to provide proper drainage from the top of the slide to toe on PCH. Because our streets in Castellammare serve as our storm drains, they needed to be well maintained to channel the water. Instead, they have been neglected for decades and send more water into the landslide.

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