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More damage at Wayfarer’s Chapel reported as Palos Verdes Peninsula endures Day 2 of rain



As the second of a three-day rain storm hit the Palos Verdes Peninsula with light, steady rain, officials reported Tuesday they are closely monitoring areas that have experienced land movement.

So far, with the exception of some additional damage noted to Wayfarer’s Chapel, things appear relatively stable, according to spokespeople in both Rancho Palos Verdes and Rolling Hills Estates, two cities with past land movement issues.

The beloved Rancho Palos Verdes chapel, which abruptly closed on Feb. 15 because of cracks in the floor and in glass panes, has endured additional damage, said Megan Barnes, spokesperson for the city.

“The city’s building official continues to regularly inspect Wayfarers Chapel,” Barnes said in an email. “Additional damage and movement has been observed in the chapel and an administrative office.”

The most recent inspection on Tuesday, said Barnes, inspectors observed new cracks, continued sliding and damage to a retaining wall behind the office building.

Rancho Palos Verdes — the site of the largest active landslide areas in North America — is regularly monitoring all areas that have experienced land movement, said Barnes. These areas include Palos Verdes Drive South, Seaview, Portuguese Bend Community Association, Portuguese Bend Beach Club and Abalone Cove.

Abalone Cove Park and Reserve, as well as the Palos Verdes Nature Preserve, remained closed to the public after officials shuttered the popular hiking and viewing spots on Monday, Feb. 19. Those areas will be closed for 48 hours or longer.

On Palos Verdes Drive South, a major thoroughfare on the southmost end of the peninsula, conditions remained tenuous. The northbound lane, for example, between Peppertree Drive and Narcissa Drive, contains a hill so steep, cars with low undercarriages have to slow to a near halt to keep from scraping.

The city already spends nearly $1 million per year repairing and resurfacing a portion of Palos Verdes Drive South, according to earlier reports.

And, the city has a contingency plan, said Barnes, that involves different stages of response measures corresponding with the road’s condition.

“We regularly inspect the road to identify needed repairs so they can be made as soon as possible,” Barnes added.

“In a worst-case scenario, the road would be closed and detours would be established,” she said. “We are not there yet.”

If the city had to detour that major road, said Barnes, about 15,000 vehicles per day would be impacted. That includes not only RPV residents, buy commuters from other South Bay cities as well as Long Beach and Orange County.

Palos Verdes Drive South, said Barnes, is also a evacuation route for the entire Peninsula, which is designated a Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone.

Maintaining the integrity of that road, added Barnes, is a key priority for the Portuguese Bend Landslide Remediation Project, which the city hopes to fast-track by asking for state and federal funds.

Further inland on the Peninsula, in Rolling Hills Estates, most recently known for the catastrophic Peartree Lane landslide in July 2023 where 12 homes were lost, the city had no notable impacts so far due to the latest rainstorm.

Alexa Davis, that city’s assistant city manager, said crews are out monitoring all areas of the city along with LA County Fire and Sheriff department personnel.

“City staff and its building inspection team are responsive if a resident or business has a concern related to their private property,” Davis said via email.

And, there are no homes impacted nor significant changes in the condition of the homes on Peartree Lane, she added.

Rolling Hills Estates did have a traffic light malfunction early Tuesday at Palos Verdes Drive North and Crenshaw Boulevard, but that was remedied, Davis said.

Source: Orange County Register

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