Appeal Summary | Appeal Letter | Appeal Analysis | Back
Second Appeal Summary
PA ID# 111-91049; Ventura County Public Works - Transportation Department
DSR ID# 11440, 39698 ; LaConchita Community Landslide
Citation: FEMA-1046-DR-CA; Ventura County Public Works; DSR's 11440, 39698
Reference: Landslide Policy, Landslide, Geotechnical Investigation, Emergency Protective Measures, Slope Stabilization, Pre-Existing Condition(s)
Heavy rains of January 1995 led to a March 4, 1995, landslide in the La Conchita Community of Ventura County (County), California. The slide covered 300 feet of Vista Del Rincon (VDR) Drive. After covering the road with 7-8 feet of debris, the slide stabilized. Geotechnical investigations which were conducted prior to the slide had indicated the hillside was a component of a pre-existing, historically active landslide complex. Investigations after the slide verified that the localized slope failure was a result of the January 1995, rains. After voiding the initial DSR, written for full slide stabilization, FEMA prepared DSR 11440 on January 11, 1996 in the amount of $69,000 for the installation of surface drainage and associated engineering tasks. DSR 11440 was amended in March 1996, changing the DSR scope to provide $45,000, exclusively to study the localized slide, and to determine methods for removing the debris from the road without triggering a new slide. As of March 1996, the County had not begun any emergency measures or debris removal. On June 17, 1996, the County's first appeal was received at FEMA Region IX, asserting that the amount of money provided in DSR 11440 was insufficient to conduct a proper engineering study of the slide. On August 30, 1996, DSR 39698 was prepared, deobligating the $45,000 provided in DSR 11440, because 17 months after the landslide, no emergency measures had been taken, the slide had stabilized. The first appeal was denied on November 14, 1996, in a letter from Region IX, which also informed the County of the deobligation of DSR 11440. The pre-existing landslide complex was deemed the County's responsibility to permanently stabilize (not FEMA's) under landslide policy No. 4511.300 A.EX. The policy holds that only emergency work and debris removal is eligible for pre-existing landslide complexes, not permanent stabilization. In the second appeal received by FEMA on May 7, 1997, the County disagrees with DSR 39698 which deobligated DSR 11440 ($45,000). The County is asking FEMA to account for the continued stability of the existing slope, if and when the County removes the mud and debris (toe of the slope) from VDR drive.
Issues: 1. Did the landslide pose an immediate threat to life or improved property, making it initially eligible for emergency measures?2. Is emergency or permanent restoration of the landslide area eligible for FEMA funding 17 months after the disaster (as of August 1996)?
1. Yes. The landslide, which occurred on March 4, 1995, was initially eligible for emergency measures within 6 - 12 months after the disaster. 2. No. The localized landslide which occurred was initially eligible for emergency stabilization (within up to 12 months) but is no longer eligible, 17 months after the disaster. Also, permanent restoration is not eligible, because the slide was part of a large pre-existing, regional landslide complex, making only emergency measures and debris removal eligible per FEMA policy 4511.300.A.EX, and only if completed within allowable time frames.
The County failed to act promptly after the landslide occurred on March 4, 1995, making emergency measures no longer eligible (not completed within 6 to 12 months). By not taking action, the County has allowed the landslide to cover a road and become stable (in the context of immediate threat) for over 28 months. The appeal is denied because the time frame for the eligible scope of work for emergency measures has expired.