Councilmember Traci Park’s Promises to Visit Tramonto: Hears Residents Concerns

This photo was taken for the 2010 report about trying to stabilize Tramonto. One can see that three streets, Revello Drive, Posetano Road and Castellammare Drive were destroyed with the landslide.

Councilmember Traci Parks Planning and Transportation Deputy Jeff Khau said at the November 15 hearing about the Tramonto Slide that “The Councilwoman was satisfied that all the neighbor’s concerns had been addressed.”

One resident wrote “That was a polite way of saying he was blowing smoke. The more than 70 residents who voiced opposition because of safety/landslide concerns clearly didn’t have their concerns addressed.”

One wrote, “I am horrified that the City cannot see the glaring flaws in this proposed development.” Another resident was unclear how building four mega mansions on a landslide would stabilize the hill.

Another resident sent CTN a copy of a November 20 Palisades News story (“Housing Development Aims to Stabilize Tramonto Drive Landslide”) and wrote “if you have time, there’s a paid advertisement about the Tramonto Landslide mega-house issue in Castellammare masquerading as a piece of journalism in the Palisades News.

“I would call it sloppy journalism, but it’s not journalism because the so-called reporter never even got so much as a quote from the Castellammare homeowners and the two others who filed appeals,” the resident said and added, “That hearing room was overflowing with those opposed to the project.”

The resident continued, “And what photo did the Palisades News use? It certainly does not look like the stretch between Gladstones and the Getty Villa, which is where the Castellammare project above it would be. Currently, there are no houses along the beach as that photo shows. Is that a photo of Malibu?”

The Palisades News used this photo of Malibu as the location for the four homes that would be built on the Tramonto landslide in Pacific Palisades.

Yes, the Getty Images photo used by the News was of Malibu.

CTN reached out to the Councilwoman’s office to see if the office had indeed paid for an ad, since the story revolved solely around comments by Traci Park’s Planning and Transportation Deputy Jeff Khau.  The answer was “our office was not involved with the publishing of the article.”

In that story, Khau said that Park’s office “was initially unsure of its support due to their large size, possibly making them unstable. However, experts assured the project would still stabilize the slope’s bedrock by using caissons; a concrete, wood or steel element in a structure’s deep foundation used for dewatering.

“Khau says other concerns related to the project were sufficiently addressed, such as repaving sidewalks, improving railings and creating a roundabout, along with the developer providing regular updates to assure an expedient timeline for construction and assuring workers and equipment wouldn’t block local roadways.”

At a November 15 planning meeting, despite community-wide protests, Demos Development and Crest Real Estate received City approval to build four large homes below Tramonto Drive; the largest of which would be a 9,051-square foot structure featuring a 5,887-square foot basement, two retaining walls and a spa. The streets where the homes are proposed, slid away decades ago and will need to be rebuilt, including construction access to the nonexistent streets.

After this editor shared concerns from residents, Park told CTN on November 28 “Public safety is always my top priority. Any proposed development will require remediation of the hillside including stabilization and compliance with environmental requirements. Projects that are approved must adhere to hillside stability provisions and obtain clearances from key City agencies.”

Park, who had not been to Tramonto, told CTN that she is making plans to go to the site to see  residents’ concerns for herself.

The homes on the cliff ended up below. The concrete from the old streets are still visible.

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5 Responses to Councilmember Traci Park’s Promises to Visit Tramonto: Hears Residents Concerns

  1. Bart Young says:

    The tragedy of all this is that City of LA officials have been led to believe that building these huge homes in the center of an active landside will somehow stop the slide. The fact is that building structures on a landslide is not a proven method of preventing further slides. The fact is building homes in the landslide will exacerbate the risk of more landslides and endanger the surrounding homes for the following reasons:
    1. Excavation or other ground-disturbing activities, which can weaken the ground and trigger a landslide. Even if the houses are built using specialized construction techniques, such as piling or deep foundations, the risk of a landslide cannot be eliminated.
    2. Building houses on the top of a landslide slope can increase the weight on the ground, which can further destabilize the soil or rock and increase the risk of a landslide. Additionally, building structures on unstable ground can also weaken the soil or rock and reduce its ability to resist the forces of gravity.
    The developer’s geologist is clear in its report that their proposed shear-pin technique will not prevent further slides, but that they will hold the new home when further slides occur. Professionals from Caltrans and USGS agree this is a foolish and dangerous idea. Beneath the surface of an active landside is a continuous flow of water and mud that flows to the ocean propelled by gravity. When the water table rises, rises, huge masses of dirt can become dislodged all at once taking everything in its path. Remember the 2005 La Conchita Landslide? Would anyone in their right mind build houses in the center of it? The developer has admitted he has not built on a landslide; however, he got the land for cheap, and it does have a great view. There are 10 other solid reasons this should be stopped before it is too late.
    The primary reason, in my opinion, is that you don’t build on volcanos, quicksand or landslides.

  2. Murray Levy says:

    I’m glad to hear that Councilwoman Park will come to see the Tramonto site. I’d love to show her around. If she has time I’d like to show her the site at Castellammare and Revello where the City approved 3 houses in 1990. After 8 months the developer had problems and abandoned the site. Tried again, with City approval in 2000. Had more problems and left it again where it still sits abandoned, threatening neighboring homes, including mine. I’d like to show her two other City approved construction sites that have proceeded in on/off fashion for over five years. The problem is that Commissioners, City Council staff, and maybe City Council Members always assume that City engineers and geologists have all the answers. They may not. Sometimes residents who have lived in a place for many years and have seen the streets looking like rivers in a rain storm and have seen landslides destroy their neighbor’s homes may know more. I hope that our Councilwoman gets the answer to a question asked at the public hearing, “is there any place in Los Angeles where large homes have been successfully built on part of an active landslide?” Her staff might also learn something from the City Council of Rancho Palos Verdes which, according to an LA Times article of October 9, 2023, enacted a moratorium on new construction that may contribute to movement in southern Rancho Palos Verdes

  3. Karin Olson-Espinosa says:

    I hope that we will be alerted as to the date and time of Ms. Parks visit so that we can arrive en masse to make out point YET AGAIN!!!!!

  4. CC Fischer says:

    Money talks. The Coastal Commission and City Council have become real estate and development facilitators (with the right amount of contributions to their personal war chests) of out of control development. Only an idiot, or someone corrupt to the bone, could look at Tramanto and say it is a site for building.

  5. Vince Martin says:

    Wonder who in their right minds are going to buy these houses?

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