News

Monterra eroded cliffside appears to be stable

After a Feb. 24 neighborhood meeting with a conservationist and geotechnical engineer, Monterra

homeowner Roger Huntman is content to remain in his house just south of the cliffside that began collapsing Feb. 1.

"They couldn't tell me anything. Nothing's changed. It seems stable now. There's the odd rumble once in awhile but nothing to write home about, yet, knock on Formica," he said with a laugh.

The cliffside erosion north of several Cypress Circle homes has taken out more than 2,000 square feet of the bluff since it began Feb. 1.

Several trees were cut down to stumps and others removed to try stemming the erosion.

The land is in the commons area of Monterra, owned jointly by homeowners. The subdivision is northwest of Sequim.

Huntman said Tuesday that the conservationist and engineer discussed moving the house back from the bluff but he doesn't have the money or extra property to do that.

"They aren't God, they can't tell if the house will fall. The assumption is that it's stabilized or settled and it won't happen again," Huntman said.

Huntman said they couldn't tell him how much more cliff might need to erode before the county would condemn the house.

They also couldn't tell him if the county would have any culpability for issuing permits to build there in the first place, he said.

Northwest Territories Inc. engineer Dave Hanna has told residents to stay behind yellow warning tape and let the bluff settle.

A bluff typically will erode three to six inches a year, so if this one lost 10 feet at once, it probably was accumulation from past years, he said.

"I asked, 'Whose cost would it be to move the house?' and they said, 'Yours.' If they can't tell how far it must be from the bluff, then I'm happy to stay," Huntman said.

He didn't buy the house as an investment to sell in a few years, he bought it to live there and enjoy what it offers, such as the sunsets, Huntman said.

"You bide your time and hope for the best and hope it doesn't happen again."



Reach Brian Gawley at bgawley@sequimgazette.com.

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