Colony Hill home remains yellow-tagged after mudslide

A tarp covers the hillside behind the damaged house.  Photo: Dave Schwab
A tarp covers the hillside behind the damaged house. Photo: Dave Schwab

By Dave Schwab

Staff Writer

The status of a yellow-tagged home in Colony Hill declared unfit for occupation Dec. 22 following an area mudslide remains unchanged.

“The home did suffer some structural damage as the result of heavy rain at the end of December and it was our civic duty to respond to an emergency and consider the safety of the occupant,” said Mehdi Shadyab, city senior structural engineer. “As a result, we yellow-tagged the building, which means the building is not to be occupied until we (city) receive a report from an engineering consultant hired by the property owner explaining the the situation, the extent of the damage, its progression and how it will impact the structure.”

Shadyab noted the ground near the home on Caminito Avola remains damp in the middle of the rainy season.

“Further rain or other phenomenon could possibly enhance the damages,” he said. “We are waiting to get a report from the property owner’s consultant. When we receive that, we will review it and carefully make a decision as to whether it’s safe for the occupant to return.”

The engineer said the homeowner’s consultant’s geological report will allow the city to downgrade the yellow-tagged structure to a green tag allowing rehabitation, or upgrade it to a red tag meaning the structural damage is so significant the collapse of the building is imminent, and no entrance should be allowed.

The mudslide a block removed from the Mount Soledad residence caused the city to evacuate the home’s occupant, 94-year-old Virginia Wall. The home’s owner, Richard Wall, who lives in Beverly Hills, has since relocated his mother.

Any compensation to the homeowner for damage done to the home’s structure “is a private matter with the homeowner and their insurance company,” said Shadyab. “The primary concern for us is the safety of the occupant.”

Richard Wall could not be reached for comment.

   
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