By Eric Heinz

Like a Salvador Dali painting, the parking lot looked as if it was melting away from St. Andrew’s by-the-Sea United Methodist Church. In October, it seemed as though some minimal land shifting had caused the lot to be altered.

Now, there has been significant erosion to the parking lot, causing the church board to seek further assistance with the slope.
It’s still unclear what exactly is causing this, although the land is part of what St. Andrew’s board chair trustee Mike Wiechman said is a landslide area, per a study done in the 1980s.

Wiechman said it may be caused by the heavy rainfall from last year seeping into the crevices of the hillside and dislodging the soil. More than 2 inches of rain was recorded in San Clemente on Jan. 9.

LGC Geotechnical Inc. is going to provide a study on the slope and what is causing the land to slide.

Since October, significant portions of the parking lot at St. Andrews by-the-Sea United Methodist Church, located at 2001 Calle Frontera, have slid off the slope of the church. A local geotechnical firm will study the sliding land to find out what’s causing it. Photo: Courtesy
Since October, significant portions of the parking lot at St. Andrews by-the-Sea United Methodist Church, located at 2001 Calle Frontera, have slid off the slope of the church. A local geotechnical firm will study the sliding land to find out what’s causing it. Photo: Courtesy of Vonne Barnes

Wiechman said Bright Horizons at San Clemente also owns a portion of the slope and has been watching the encroaching erosion closely.

Wiechman said it’s going to be expensive to fix the damage to the slope. The St. Andrew’s board has notified the diocese of The United Methodist Church, which owns the church’s land and may ask for financial assistance.

Kevin Colson, the vice president of LGC Geotechnical Inc., said he’s not sure at this time when the studies will be available. Colson said the firm is constructing a model to see how the slope can be fixed and what may have caused the erosion.

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comments (3)

  • The survey will be useless unless it factors in the TCA’s two years of booms caused by the constant pounding around the clock to expand freeway and pico which was rattling the ground within a mile of the freeway and pico.

  • It is funny how the slope has been stable for the last 30 years right up until Caltrans took a good portion of their slope off Ave Pico and started their expansion.

  • If this “landslide area” has been stable for 3 decades and survived numerous deluges even more extreme than last year’s, it is absolutely not a mere coincidence that this occurred within a year of the major construction (and destruction) of the hillside. I don’t understand why the church is supposed to bear the burden from what seems to be clearly tied to recent freeway/Pico activity.

comments (3)

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