Solana Beach homeowners get OK to repair bluff-top seawall

By Kristina Houck

The Solana Beach City Council recently gave several bluff-top property owners the go-ahead to better protect their homes by repairing a seawall.

After a coastal bluff failure in September 1998, the 352-foot-long seawall along Pacific Avenue was built in 2000 to prevent eight houses from eventually plunging into the ocean.

But the manmade walls prevent erosion, the natural process that creates beaches.

The structures prevent the bluffs from slowly converting to sand and cause existing sand to be washed away. Over time, the sea level rises and the beach disappears. Therefore, seawalls have pitted beachgoers and environmentalists against bluff-top property owners in the past.

The seawall along Pacific Avenue was constructed under a special use permit from the city and an emergency permit from the California Coastal Commission, which required continued monitoring and maintenance of the structure. A survey conducted in October and November 2013 found that while the seawall is structurally intact, it needs repairs.

The council on Aug. 27 unanimously approved a development review permit for the project, which will also go before the commission. The project includes the reapplication of about a half-foot of concrete to cover the lower portion of the wall, covering the exposed anchor heads and erosion markers, as well as filling any concave depressions formed as a result of cobble-induced abrasion. The damaged plastic heads will also be replaced and the color coating will be reapplied to match the surrounding seawalls and exposed bluff.