La Honda landslide continues creep

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“Like a slow-motion train wreck” is how one La Honda resident described watching the latest movements of a landslide still threatening two homes in the area.

The slide, which claimed its 10th home since 1998 last spring, before the county installed a dozen wells in an attempt to draw water from the soil, has moved as much as another 50 feet in some areas this winter and spring, locals said Tuesday. And while it may not grab headlines like a dangling house in Broadmoor or nightmare traffic jams near Devil’s Slide, the La Honda slide shouldn’t be forgotten, said James Adams, chairman of the landslide committee for the neighborhood association Cuesta La Honda Guild. To reignite attention to their plight, a half-dozen residents showed up to pressure the county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday to move forward with securing funds to repair the slide.

As many as 30 homes sit on or touch the slide and could be at risk in the event of a moderate earthquake, according to geologists, Adams said. The same seven-acre slide destroyed nine homes in 1998. “We [went] down to the supervisors to put a face on the La Honda slide,” Adams said.

At a tentatively scheduled meeting in June, residents hope the county will lay out what it has done to secure state and federal funds to fix the slide, resident Tom Dodd said. “That is important, because without the money all the plans in the world won’t do any good,” said Dodd, who has a home that is for sale in the path of part of the slide.

The continued movement of the slide threatens to sever several main roads in and out of the community, including Escondido and Scenic drives, said Janet Clark, president of the Cuesta La Honda Guild.

The June meeting of local residents, along with Supervisor Rich Gordon, who represents the area, will be the first step to a more in-depth discussion on what kind of money should be spent on the slide, and where and how, Gordon said.

Because of the size of the slide, which geologists believe is prehistoric, county officials aren’t sure anything can be done to stop the inevitable, Gordon said. “Whether the county has any responsibility for fixing the slide, I don’t think is necessarily true.”

Perhaps more to the point, if anything can be done, it could be prohibitively expensive, Gordon said. Current repairs to lower Scenic Drive are estimated at about $6 million, officials said.

ecarpenter@examiner.com

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