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Second Appeal Analysis
PA ID# 081-08310-00; City of Brisbane
PW ID# Project Worksheet 579; Slope Failure
Rainstorms from March 29, 2006, through April 16, 2006, resulted in localized instabilities of the bottom of a cut slope immediately west of residences at 905 through 933 Humboldt Road, and east of a residence at 484 Kings Road in the City of Brisbane (Applicant). The Applicant requested assistance from the Department of Homeland Securitys Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for costs associated with stabilizing the failed slope.
On July 23, 2006, a site visit was conducted by FEMA, and attended by the Applicant and members of the California Office of Emergency Services (OES). FEMAs Landslide Site Assessment Report (LSAR) dated July 25, 2006, noted that a rockslide had occurred at the site during a previous disaster, FEMA-1628-DR-CA, and that the Applicant had installed 165-feet of K-rail to contain future rockfall debris.
FEMA prepared PW 579 on August 23, 2006, in an estimated amount of $340,956 to construct a 200-foot soil nail retaining wall. However, FEMA subsequently determined that the slope failure was not the result of the disaster event and, therefore, on August 31, 2006, FEMA obligated PW 579 at zero dollars.First Appeal
In a letter dated November 17, 2006, the Applicant filed a first appeal of FEMAs denial of assistance, which was transmitted and supported by OES to FEMA Region IX on
January 18, 2007. In its first appeal the Applicant pointed out that FEMAs LSAR had identified an immediate threat of continued movement of rock joints below the foundation of a residence at 484 Kings Road. As a result, the Applicant argued that FEMAs regulations permitted it to eliminate or reduce an immediate threat even when restoration of a failed slope was not eligible for FEMA assistance. In addition, the Applicant enclosed a report by its consulting geotechnical engineering firm, Cotton, Shires & Associates, suggesting that the slope failure had been caused by the disaster event. Accordingly, the Applicant requested that FEMA approve funding in the amount of $340,956 to construct a 200-foot soil nail retaining wall.
To better assess the merits of the Applicants appeal, FEMA Region IX officials, including a FEMA geotechnical specialist, conducted another site visit on May 10, 2007, attended by OES and representatives of the Applicant. The site visit confirmed the rockslides had occurred during a previous disaster (FEMA-1628-DR-CA) but that a new rock-wedge failure was a direct result of the most recent disaster (FEMA-1628-DR-CA). The staff at the site visit determined that the newly created failure was undermining the residence at 484 Kings Road. In addition, FEMA determined that the K-rails installed after DR-1628 contained the rockslide from FEMA-1628-DR-CA and that the only remaining immediate threat resulting from FEMA-1628-DR-CA was to the private residence at 484 Kings Road. Consequently, FEMA determined that a 60-foot soil nail wall installed to protect the private residence at 484 Kings Road would be the only eligible, cost-effective emergency protective measure necessary to address the immediate threat resulting from FEMA-1628-DR-CA.
On July 17, 2007, Region IX responded to the Applicants first appeal by approving funding for a 60-foot soil nail wall, but denying funding for an adjacent 100-foot retaining wall requested by the Applicant. Second Appeal
On October 1, 2007, the Applicant filed a second appeal which was transmitted and supported by OES in a letter to FEMA dated November 11, 2007. FEMA Region IX transmitted the second appeal to FEMA headquarters on December 18, 2007.
In its second appeal, the Applicant argued that the damaged slope had a high risk for failure under prolonged or intense rainfall conditions, and that the 100-foot soil nail retaining wall along the southern segment of the slope, which had been denied by FEMA, was necessary to protect public and private property along Humboldt Road. Furthermore, the Applicants consulting geotechnical engineers, Cotton, Shires & Associates, stated that the previously installed K-rails, along Humboldt Road, were not adequate protective measures to eliminate or reduce the threat presented by the damaged slope.DISCUSSION
FEMA has considered the issues in this matter based on FEMAs LSAR the Applicants first and second appeals, as well as two geotechnical evaluations conducted by the Applicants consulting engineers dated
August 3, 2006, and September 25, 2007, and has determined the following:
The slope failure uphill from Humboldt Road was not the result of FEMA-1628-DR-CA but rather was a pre-existing area of rockfall instability.
The slope failure uphill from Humboldt Road did not damage the roadway or any other public or private facilities.
The rockfalls upslope of Humboldt Road were effectively contained by the existing K-rail debris barrier.
The rock wedge failure that undermined the foundation of the residence at 484 Kings Road was a localized event; however, FEMA agrees that an immediate threat exists due to the potential for further opening of the rock joints at that location.
As a result of these findings FEMA has determined that a 60-foot soil nail retaining wall along the northern portion of the slope is justified as a cost-effective emergency protective measure to protect the residence at 484 Kings Road from an event which can reasonably be expected to occur within five years.
However, the Applicant provided no study to support its contention that the existing K-rails are not adequate to protect the roadway or private residences along Humboldt Road from a future similar event or that installation of a 100-foot soil nail retaining wall is a cost-effective emergency protective measure in these circumstances. We note that the rockfall from FEMA-1628-DR-CA was contained by the K-rail debris barrier.