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Consultants preparing to work on hillside home

Now that a lawsuit over a water-damaged home on Mount Soledad’s Hillside Drive has been settled, plans are under way to repair the eroded canyon side and eventually remove the plastic tarps that some neighbors claim are an eyesore and an environmental hazard.

“We’re going to have our first (repair) team meeting,” said La Jolla attorney Bryan M. Garrie, who represented John Trunkey and Greg Bishop, owners of the home at 7595 Hillside Drive, in their suit against the city.

It was filed after a million gallons of water ran through their property when a water main broke on Dec. 17, 2006.

“We’re going to prepare a timeline of events, what needs to be done in order to make repairs happen,” Garrie said.

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The team doing the work includes contractor Dave Hoffman of Ground Force and engineer Scott Thoeny with TerraPacific Consultants Inc. Both firms specialize in geotechnical work, landslide repairs and hillside stabilization.

Once they get the necessary permits from the city, Hoffman said, “it will take between six and 10 workers between three and four months. We’re going to provide some support for the building foundation as well as for the home. The slope will then be re-landscaped. It will look like new.”

Thoeny’s geotechnical engineering consulting firm will be the architects of the repair project, evaluating the stability of the soils that underlie the house and comprise the hillside.

“We will be providing recommendations for restoring the hillside and stabilizing the foundation of the home’s structure in light of the soils movement,” he said. “Regarding the slope, we’ll likely be reinforcing the soils.”

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The process for repairing the water-damaged property, added Thoeny, is very similar, only on a much smaller scale, to what was done to patch Soledad Mountain Road nearby when it split in two and collapsed after a landslide more than a year ago.

“We will be installing sheer pins, concrete caissons, drilling them down into the soil,” he said. “They are used to resist the lateral instability in the soils. We’ll be drilling piles along the back of the house to support the foundation. Imagine piers that go down into the ground, like stilts, to support the structure on the more competent soil. Sheer pins are needed to increase the stability of that deep slope.”

Attorney Garrie said repairs to the water-damaged home and its underlying hillside will use nearly all of the $835,000 payment his clients were awarded after the City Council voted 8-0 in closed session on Nov. 18, 2008, to settle the lawsuit out of court.