Articles, Rosarito, Tijuana

Houses in San Antonio Barely Standing Still

Rains and bad planning have washed away over 40 feet of land

Home owners in the ocean front community of San Antonio del Mar have been worrying about the integrity of their homes for a couple of years now.

Neighbors on the oceanfront part of Isla Street have seen the back street of their cliff homes being swept off by the sea for several years now; around 40 feet of land in total has fallen into the sea, but recent rains did the most damage, eroding most of the land up to the edge of the structures, jeopardizing the houses.

Click here to open a 360 image that shows the erosion

We talked to Marvin Standsberry, owner of the house most affected currently. He told us that he bought his dream oceanfront property back in 2002. At that time, he says, he didn’t have any idea of the ordeal he was getting into. “I had probably 40 feet of land behind my house separating my property and the 20-foot drop to the beach at that time, it was plenty of land, so I never thought it was going to get this bad. Now my house is just inches from the cliff, we just don’t think the house is going to make it through another rain season”.

It wasn’t until 2004 when Marvin noticed that the rainwater drainage channel that was built right next to his house had begun to crumble. He took some pictures and went on to report it to San Antonio’s Homeowners Association, but no action was taken. He did it again and again with no response.

This photo was taken in 2016, when the house still had a backyard.

As the land below the drainage channel started to wash out to sea with the rains, the channel that had no support below completely crumbled up to its last remaining part. Marvin was quick to report this to the HOA and city authorities, including the civil protection office, the water company and urban control, but once again, nobody offered any assistance, and just pointed in each other’s directions.

With the rainwater channel destroyed, things have started to get out of control; now every rain takes huge chunks of land behind the homes since all the water that passes through the channel just goes everywhere, washing away everything in its path. To make things even worse, the channel not only receives rainwater but also treated gray water that is sent to the ocean 24/7, eroding the land even more.

In his opinion, the HOA should get involved to repair the rainwater channel that could benefit (or affect) the whole community. “How can I be expected to pay my dues, if they won’t help when I need them?”

HOA fees in San Antonio are $50 dollars every month for houses and $25 for vacant lots and has over 600 properties, although it is well known that not all of the property owners pay their dues.

At the very least, he says he would like to have the HOA on his side in order to pressure the city into doing the repairs.

 

With more rains expected in the upcoming days, he and his wife Susana are worried that their very lives could be in danger, even after the local civil protection office said a couple weeks ago that at that moment the house didn’t seem to have any structural damage. He is sure that their assessment would probably be different by now, since this last week the floor and walls have started to crack.

Marvin said he has already hired legal counsel in order to figure out who is responsible for repairing the rainwater channel in order to stop the land erosion that is threatening to wash away his dream of a peaceful retirement by the ocean.

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