Dear Mr. Steiner:
I was told of your website by Jim Ashby of Mission GeoScience. I live off of the "new" part of Serrano Ave. I sit on the board of my homeowner's association so I am very familiar with the problems up here in the hills as well as working with Mission GeoScience for our association.
Anyway, I fell in love with a home for sale on Rimwood Ave. and wanted Mr. Ashby's firm to perform a geological survey of the property before I agreed to purchase it.
I have printed and read EVERYTHING on your website and find it most informative. I am going to the Records Dept. at the City of Anaheim tomorrow to look at the area maps and to gain more info. I also have a copy of the cross complaint from the City of Anaheim on it's way to me, as we speak.
My question to you is this...
If the home I want to purchase is at the far (southwest) end of Rimwood and the nearby neighbors (mostly original owners except two) all tell me they have had NO PROBLEMS AT ALL with their structures whatsoever, then wouldn't it be okay to buy into this neighborhood if my own personal geological and
structural inspections come up clear with no problems???
The reason I am even considering this neighborhood, besides the fact that I like the floor plan and location of the home, is that we just completed a real rainy winter and the area didn't have any problems. Also, the area that I live in just settled a lawsuit with our builder over construction defects. These defects centered around 3 dwellings sliding toward Serrano Ave. My home is not close to these dwellings in question, nor does my home exhibit any of the problems our lawsuit was for... but since we are in an association, the association sued the builder and all of his subs. Our home prices fell during the litigation but are going up now that the suit has been settled. My point here is that MY HOME is just fine and always has been. I don't think a prospective home buyer should rule out my home just because my development has 3 homes that have structural defects. Furthermore, the settlement money is going to FIX those defects.
Wouldn't it be okay to purchase a home (provided the reports from the geologist and structural engineers come out favorable) in an area that has had previous problems when that home never sustained any problems from the landslide?
Also, isn't the landslide shifting toward Serrano in a Westerly direction and if so, would the homes located to the Southwest of the slide be somewhat out of danger?
I would appreciate any information you could give me. Thank you.
Editor's Reply: First, let me address the questions you didn't ask:
A.) Never fall in love with a house. Reserve your love for your family, friends and pets only: Things are just things!
B.) When you go to Records Dept. at the City of Anaheim tomorrow assume that they will hide the information you need and that they will lie to you about the landslide affected areas.
C.) Homes located in SEISMIC HAZARD ZONES that have "had NO PROBLEMS AT ALL with their structures whatsoever" in the past, does not mean that they will be quite so lucky in the future.
D.) Even though your area "just completed a real rainy winter and the area didn't have any problems" doesn't mean an earthquake or a second rainy winter won't trigger another disastrous landslide.
E.) When you say your "development has 3 homes that have structural defects" and that the lawsuit "settlement money is going to FIX those defects" -- please realize that it is not the home that has the defect -- it is the land it resides upon that needs the "FIX". Painting a house on landslide is the same as painting the face of a cadaver.
Now to answer your specific questions:
Question #1.) "Wouldn't it be okay to buy into this neighborhood if my own personal geological and structural inspections come up clear with no problems???"
Answer: The most important point to keep in mind: Is it classified as an AREA 4 SEISMIC HAZARD ZONE? If this is the case then you may find you and your family being forcibly evacuated in the middle of the night by the Anaheim Police Department as I, my family and my neighbors were in 1993 and seven families were in western Anaheim Hills just this past week. As you probably recall, some people in Laguna Canyon weren't lucky enough to be evacuated in time.
Question #2.) "Wouldn't it be okay to purchase a home (provided the reports from the geologist and structural engineers come out favorable) in an area that has had previous problems when that home never sustained any problems from the landslide?"
Answer: Buying a home in a known landslide area can only be classified as a hazardous investment in which more than just money can be lost.
Question #3.) "Also, isn't the landslide shifting toward Serrano in a Westerly direction and if so, would the homes located to the Southwest of the slide be somewhat out of danger?"
Answer: Though most geologists tend to illustrate slides as having a general direction, they attach these arrows only to designate the principal movement within the main slide mass. A landslide moves in a multitude of directions at the same time and also can be made up of a number of fragmented slides.
Landslides tend to move more like roaches than ants.
Additionally, the dynamic forces from one landslide can activate a nearby 'dormant' slide. Believing in 'slide direction' is a lot like believing in the Heaven's Gate cult -- it can easily shorten your life span.