Beach Drive slide lawsuit settled, repairs ahead, says city

August 16, 2012 at 4:38 pm | In Safety, West Seattle news | 13 Comments

(WSB 2011 photo of the view from behind the “ecology blocks” at the bottom of the sliding Beach Drive slope)
Earlier this year, when repaving was ahead for a section of Beach Drive close to the ravaged section caught in a dispute over slides, the city revealed more mediation was ahead. Now, there’s word it has succeeded. This is just in from the City Attorney’s Office:

A significant hillside repair project along Beach Drive in West Seattle will be built without any City funds, in accord with the successful mediation of Anderson v. City, Saladino et. al.

“I am pleased to report that the City has resolved litigation and enforcement actions related to landslides in West Seattle above Beach Drive,” City Attorney Pete Holmes said Thursday. “Insurance monies and private funds will be used to construct deep retaining walls and a drainage system to stabilize a hillside. No City funds will be used to construct the project. The City has agreed to waive the majority of fines it sought in this action in exchange for the agreement by Peter Saladino to build the walls.”

Saladino and the City were both defendants in this action brought by 29 households that alleged they were affected by the landslides that occurred in 2007 and 2010.

The parties reached agreement late Wednesday night, the second day of mediation.

Saladino personally and the insurance carrier for Saladino agreed to fund and construct the remediation project to stabilize the hillside across a three-property area. The remediation project, which is likely to cost more than $2 million, involves two walls and a drainage system. The project is being reviewed by the Department of Planning and Development and the Department of Transportation and other City departments, with construction likely to begin this year.

The City did not pay attorney’s fees. The City did agree, however, to reduce the fines against Saladino to $10,000 if he is able to obtain that amount or more from a neighboring property owner’s insurance company. If he is unable to get that amount, the City will waive all fines as to Saladino. In addition, the City agreed to resurface a portion of Beach Drive north of the slide area in 2012.

Tom Rasmussen, chairman of the Seattle City Council Transportation Committee, expressed delight with the settlement: “The area near the slide on Beach Drive is in terrible condition and the agreement will allow the hillside to be repaired and Beach Drive to be repaired and repaved.”

We’ll add backstory shortly. As part of all this, the city had sued Saladino in 2009; area homeowners sued in 2011.

13 Comments

  1. I’d be very curious to find out from the local families whether they’re confident that Saladino and the Insurance company will actually follow-through on constructing the retaining wall/drainage.

    Comment by John — 5:51 pm August 16, 2012 #

  2. Yay! That is very Good! I thought they were going to drag their feet so long an earthquake would take care of it for them.

    Comment by Noelle — 5:52 pm August 16, 2012 #

  3. I am going to assume that mediation prevailed over an expensive court case. So unless Saladino wants to spend more money they would be smart to comply.

    Comment by Kgdlg — 9:21 pm August 16, 2012 #

  4. After reading up on the history of the hill and its multiple slides there is some real responsibility that should have been dealt to the city long ago. I suspect those plots should never have been opened up to the public and the first slide back in the 1930′s happened after road construction around the same time. The city was warned about it by engineers and chose to ignore the problem over the years. I’m glad the wall and drainage is going up but I don’t think its a permanent fix.

    Comment by cj — 10:01 pm August 16, 2012 #

  5. wall and drains
    yea right
    they will slap abike lane on it and call it good lol

    Comment by marcus ativalu — 10:45 pm August 16, 2012 #

  6. haha – Marcus! Wish there was a ‘like’ button!

    Comment by pam — 7:12 am August 17, 2012 #

  7. Is he being forced to plant trees to replace the ones he cut down?

    Comment by Joe — 9:43 am August 17, 2012 #

  8. money talks, perps walk.

    Comment by oh man — 11:53 am August 17, 2012 #

  9. I’m certainly glad to hear that taxpayers won’t be paying for this mess, but how come no one’s saying what caused the problem. When homeowners cut down all the trees on a hillside so they can have their pretty view, the ground becomes over-saturated with rain because there’s no more dead leaves left on the ground to shed the excess water off. The result is mass wasting, otherwise known as a landslide. If you look at this person’s property, there’s not one tree left on the hillside. So as far as I’m concerned, the homeowner is responsible. It should be illegal to cut down trees (even on private property) when it compromises land stability and can threaten other property–public or private..

    Comment by Ray West — 7:29 pm August 17, 2012 #

  10. Real funny Marcus. Of course by now I should expect West Seattleites, and Seattleites in general to consider bicyclist safety a laughing matter.

    Comment by JN — 10:12 pm August 17, 2012 #

  11. So, help me understand the fines issue. The city has agreed to reduce the fines for Saladino to just 10,000.00 if he can obtain that amount from his neighbors insurance company and if he is unable to, the fines will be waived completely? Sweet!

    Comment by 56bricks — 5:39 am August 18, 2012 #

  12. I imagine the goal is to get it fixed. Fines are only useful if they bring people to the table and point of fixing a problem. If it gets done than that is what matters, especially if city isn’t footing bill.

    Comment by Kgdlg — 3:39 pm August 18, 2012 #

  13. In response to the comment by Ray West, it is illegal to cut trees on a sensitive hillside without a permit, even if you own the trees. This guy is definitely responsible for this slide and he should cover 100% of the price to fix and replant the damaged slope.

    Comment by eaglewatch — 9:25 pm August 18, 2012 #

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