CFAH

Triggered by a complaint of “deadly large rocks” raining down on the little public beach below, an engineer’s report has confirmed an erosion of the cliff behind the infamous seven-bedroom home at 224 Sea Cliff Avenue.  And while the report didn’t identify an “eminent hazardous condition,” another big problem appears to have been uncovered.

In the process of investigating the aforementioned complaint, the City was provided evidence that the private stairway, which was constructed to connect the Sea Cliff mansion to the secluded cove back in 2004, appears to have been built beyond the property lines of the home, with said lines having been misrepresented when the permits for the construction of a new retaining wall, deck and stairway were secured.  An investigation into the legality of the stairway and permit history is now underway.

At the same time, while an “eminent hazardous condition” wasn’t identified, the aforementioned erosion is undermining the structure, the concrete is spalling and the stairway’s handrails and guardrails are corroding.

And with a “solicitation of offers” for 224 Sea Cliff Avenue having passed without a buyer having been secured last year, the property, which is now in the hands of a bankruptcy trustee, remains listed on the MLS for $15.375 million, touting “access to a wonderful beach via a private staircase.”  We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by marcia

    I don’t know how that stairway was ever able to be built. Anyone who buys the house would probably want to remove it. Wouldn’t a nice redwood stair that blends into the cliff be nicer?

    • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

      Or perhaps just repaint it to blend in with the natural terrain. It was a terrible design decision to continue the house paint color down to the beach. Every time I see that photo it reminds me of a sweater unraveling.

  2. Posted by Marvinsnephew

    Wouldn’t the California Coastal Commission have a say in that staircase? It looks horrible with its salmon color and that “private staircase” is falling apart. Not sure I’d want to use it!

    • Posted by SocketSite

      In fact, it was the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) that raised the property line flag.

      • Posted by Notcom

        So the claim, then, is that it’s beyond the coast-fronting line, not one of the sidelines?

        • Posted by hunter

          definitely appears to drop to the sand below the high tide line. The walkway out on the cliff at the left also might go outside private property lines…

  3. Posted by BobN

    What’s the bit over on the left side in the photo, on the second level down? It’s a long way from the stairs.

    • Posted by SocketSite

      A private “viewing platform” that was built out on a ridge of the cliff.

      • Posted by Notcom

        Money well spent (‘cuz you can see so much more of the ocean from 45′ closer !!)

        • Posted by SocketSite

          Actually, that extra 45 feet yields a rather spectacular vista and point of view.

          • Posted by Adam

            The assessor’s map seems to imply that the viewing platform is actually ok, but everything below that level (the staircase further down) has gone beyond the property lines.

            I would be worried about the stability of the cliff face if they tried to remove the stairs at this point. No wonder potential buyers are staying away.

          • Posted by Notcom

            Well like I said “money well spent” 🙂
            (and yes: I guess there are times I appreciate that there isn’t a sarcasm font)

            But back to the point…as it were: I wonder how much grander it is than the view from the house itself…that safe, warm spot where one can enjoy a vista in comfort.

      • Posted by BobN

        Thanks! Pity it’s not wide enough for a hot tub.

  4. Posted by Unlivablecity

    This reminds me of the top floor lounge at the “Juke Box” Marriott downtown. Just beyond hideous from the outside but not without its experiential charms.

  5. Posted by phongpei

    Almost matches the color of the GG Bridge

  6. Posted by c_q

    replace stairs with a funicular. probably similar cost and less intrusive to the hillside. and of course easier to get up and down.

    • Posted by MyOddCommentHandle

      Between the demo, the permits and the construction, I think the replacement stairs would cost as much as the current net value of the house.

      • Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

        Yep. And that’s one of the several reasons why no well-heeled homebuyer has come along in the last nine years, purchased this home and put the senior lien holder out of their misery.

  7. Posted by Wcsf

    This house is cursed. Mostly self-inflicted. I’d be worried about socketsite’s future if this house didn’t pop with an update at least every four months.

  8. Posted by SFRealist

    I may have missed it, who is paying the taxes?

  9. Posted by jenofla

    Tear out that staircase, rebuild a nice viewing platform within property lines, and stake in a sturdy pole from which one can tie some rope and rappel down to the beach. And use ascenders to climb back up. It’s really quite fun and good exercise. Or maybe a via ferrata unless the cliffs are too unstable?

    • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

      And for those without sufficient strength, there are battery powered motorized ascenders now.

  10. Posted by Dixon Hill

    Long-term (50-100 years), those homes are probably going the way of the Pacifica bluffs.

  11. Posted by Frank C.

    Dixon is right. But there is no “probably”. It’s borrowed time.

  12. Posted by Ohlone Californio

    They’re pretty different geologically as redded red chert and graywacke sandstone degrades differently than sandy bluffs.

  13. Posted by Cody

    Concrete & sea water! I think that is what took down that condo building in Florida a few months ago.

  14. Posted by soccermom

    Is it unusual for rocks to fall from a constantly-eroding cliff facing the sea?

    • Posted by Notcom

      Well, keep in mind these aren’t justrocks: they’re largerocks…deadly large rocks. Or maybe we should say “potentially deadly” since the thousands who would normally flock to this “public” beach each weekend are absent, at present.

      • Posted by soccermom

        Is it possible there is also evidence of water seepage down near the beach?

        • Posted by Notcom

          Let’s hope not !! Fresh water intrusion is a major threat to the ocean. Not an imminent danger, like the deadly rocks, but long-term a big, big problem.

      • Posted by Ohlone Californio

        That beach is a difficult one for the public to access.

        • Posted by soccermom

          Yours is an understatement.

  15. Posted by Type O Personality

    imminent danger, your eminence

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