DEAR WEHO: Denounce ‘dewatering’ before it destroys us

Write an open letter to your city and we’ll publish it! E-mail submissions to brandon@wehoville.com.

This coming Thursday, October 6th at 6pm, the West Hollywood West Planning Commission will be reviewing the design guidelines for any new homes being built in West Hollywood West. This includes the addition of basements. I know many of you I’ve spoken with have experienced cracks in your homes, windows and doors that no longer open properly, and trees dying, all of which Ignacio and I have experienced more and more in recent years. After much research and professional consultations, this is due to the shifting ground from excessive groundwater removal (called dewatering), often required in our neighborhood when adding a floor below the surface because much of our neighborhood sits on top of a high underground aquifer. 

With an increase in basements and underground parking lots, the city is throwing away millions of gallons of groundwater a day throughout the city (largely in our neighborhood). This water, which is contaminated from construction, goes directly into Ballona Creek and Santa Monica Bay. Ground water is not an infinite resource, and is particularly vital in a drought-ridden area such as Southern California and West Hollywood.

I urge you to tell the Planning Commission to halt and stop allowing further underground construction of any size that requires dewatering in West Hollywood West until they have done proper research and studies on the effects to the environment and the surrounding homes and structures. Not only does groundwater help stabilize the ground, but our trees rely on it for life. Continual dewatering will inevitably diminish the value of our homes and could lead to disastrous environmental issues over time.

Please take a minute to leave a public comment (up to 500 characters), or better yet attend the meeting, urging them stop allowing underground construction in our neighborhood if it requires dewatering until they’ve done due diligence.

Here is the comment I posted, feel free to use it as a template if you want:

I urge you to not allow anymore basements or underground parking of any size until adequate research is done on the effects of dewatering. The foundation of my home is solid, yet from shifting ground due to dewatering my home has cracks, doors and windows that stick, an unstable pool waterline, and drought-tolerant trees that keep dying from a lowered water table. Dewatering will end up devaluing the most desirable neighborhood in WeHo. And you are also polluting the ocean with the run-off.

I’ve forwarded information about the meeting and links to comment below, and here is a direct link to the agenda item:https://weho.granicusideas.com/meetings/1397-planning-commission-meeting/agenda_items/6334e514f2b6703283003c8c-c-zone-text-amendment-west-hollywood-west-neighb

Any questions, feel free to ask! Let your neighbors know as well!

Thanks so much!
Jay Jacobson

Sign the change.org petition here

5 1 vote
Article Rating

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

20 Comments
Newest
Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Frustrated
Frustrated
1 month ago

Wow. We have two new McMansions on both sides of our duplex that have Full basements. Our landlady is now wanting to sell our duplex because of the “foundation settling”. We have big cracks in our walls, as well as windows and doors that are not closing properly. She called an insurance company and they will not pay out because they say its natural settling and not covered. She received estimates to stabilize the foundation, but it was too costly, so now she is selling the property and we have to move. Is there anything that can be done to… Read more »

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
1 month ago
Reply to  Frustrated

Read what WeHo West Resident said below about the city possibly causing the dewatering problem by way over-pumping water out of the ground below his house. It appears THAT may be the problem, … not basements!

WeHo West Resident
WeHo West Resident
1 month ago
Reply to  Frustrated

Don’t know that the city will pay – they should pay for the thousands I’ve had to pay to replace windows and doors. But there is a Planning Commision meeting tonight at West Hollywood City Hall at 6pm, where you can voice your opinion about not allowing basements to be build that require ground water removal. You can also leave a comment here before 4pm:
https://weho.granicusideas.com/meetings/1397-planning-commission-meeting/agenda_items/6334e514f2b6703283003c8c-c-zone-text-amendment-west-hollywood-west-neighb

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
1 month ago

No one is addressing what WeHo West Resident said below that it is the city that is dewatering by pumping far more water than it is regulated to do, so it seems that it is the city who is creating the problem, not basements. If the city would back off pumping all that water would that not solve the problem, and wouldn’t the city be liable for the damage done? Or am I still missing something?

carleton cronin
1 month ago

No count that the local water table has been altered by many factors, among them the disturbance and relocation of underground streams. Before LA county added a large drain along San Vicente, land east of that road was a federally declared flood zone. The long, severe drought is causing a shifting groundwater level and placement. For instance, my rear yard is experiencing subsidence and time foundation cracks have appeared. My next door neighbor cannot close his front gate because the surface has shifted. Anyone else??

Frustrated
Frustrated
1 month ago

Yes, we are experiencing the same issue as well as cracks in our walls and ceilings. Insurance will not covert he cost to fix it as they are saying its naturally occurring settling of the foundation.

Weho Mourning Joe
Weho Mourning Joe
1 month ago

The number one enemy elites are the greedy developers, the planning commission members in their pockets and, of course, their streetwalkers on the West Hollywood City Council. Backed by the shady Townscape and Faring who put up the billboard of the developer’s streetwalker: Horvath. Erickson is the new schlepper for Faring, D’Amico was bought off by Townscape. Time to sue West Hollywood for a breach of public trust.

WE NEED WATER, NOT BASEMENTS IN WEST HOLLYWOOD
WE NEED WATER, NOT BASEMENTS IN WEST HOLLYWOOD
1 month ago

West Hollywood shouldn’t allow any more basements or underground parking regardless of their size until adequate research is done on the effects of dewatering. The constant dewatering taking place in our city causes unstable foundations and cracks that jeopardize our home and their future value. It also has a devastating effect in the trees and it’s a constant source of pollution, as the contaminated water ends in the ocean. The future of our city and our climate is crucial. Say no to basements

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
1 month ago

I’m not so sure this is true. In today’s political climate to blame a problem on the environmental impact gets quick acceptance without much questioning. We’ve been conditioned to accept blame and guilt for just about everything we do because of our impact on the environment by just living! If dewatering is indeed causing this kind of problem it seems we would have heard a lot about it before now. A friend is having a house built in West LA and he wanted to include a basement. He was told that the seismic study necessary would add up to 40%… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Gimmeabreak
Seems Criminal
Seems Criminal
1 month ago
Reply to  Gimmeabreak

Some folks grew up with an awareness of the environment. At the same time too many did not but developed careless lifestyles that we are progressively witnessing the results of.

Building compatible with the land is a centuries honored concept. While West Hollywood has many examples of early types to guide them as Santa Barbara has favored and followed diligently.

WeHo West Resident
WeHo West Resident
1 month ago
Reply to  Seems Criminal

Well said!

WeHo West Resident
WeHo West Resident
1 month ago
Reply to  Gimmeabreak

You are missing the point, and it is easy to deflect things by saying they are political. This is not a political issue. Basements themselves are not the issue. It is the excessive dewatering in West Hollywood (an area less than two square miles) that is the issue. Unlike West LA, WeHo sits on a high water table with groundwater as high as five feet below the surface, so many locations in the city require the removal of groundwater for any subterranean construction. The excessive and unregulated dewatering in WeHo (particularly West Hollywood West) is not only affecting me but… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by WeHo West Resident
Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
1 month ago

I didn’t say it wasn’t true; I said I’m not sure it’s true!

Anti-capitalists and environmental wackos use scare tactics quite liberally to achieve their agendas and they lie a lot. So when I hear of limitations being required of us due to environmental impact I’ve learned to be skeptical.

WeHo West Resident
WeHo West Resident
1 month ago
Reply to  Gimmeabreak

Sadly because of ignorance and disregard for consequences caused to the environment by some construction, limitations need to be required in many instances. I personally don’t have any agenda. I just don’t want more damage to my home, or for its value to diminish. And I can’t afford to keep replacing windows, doors, and trees. I hired a professional arborist when my tree was dying who told me it was dying from a lowered water table. I hired a contractor to see if the foundation of my home was in jeopardy because of the cracking, who confirmed that my foundation… Read more »

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
1 month ago

It sounds, then, like it isn’t basements but is the city’s disregard for what is happening to your home, which they could stop and maybe even reverse. I would like them to publicly address this.

WeHo West Resident
WeHo West Resident
1 month ago
Reply to  Gimmeabreak

Exactly. My home and the homes in my neighborhood that sit on the high aquifer. And they do need to address this issue.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
1 month ago

So just to make sure we’re on the same page, then, isn’t it reasonable to assume that the problem would be solved if the city stopped pumping so much water and that the city should be held liable for the damage done to your property? The problem is not basements but irresponsibility in the part of the city?

Seems Criminal
Seems Criminal
1 month ago

I have no idea if this exists but it would be interesting to find arial photos or charts of the tree canopy in West Hollywood in progressive stages since the 19th century.

Seems Criminal
Seems Criminal
1 month ago

Thank you for pointing out these valuable insights. Have long been concerned about the exponential effects of what has always appeared to be flaws in the development process regarding ground water and the seemingly incomprehensible. largely ignorant responses to drought. Careless or lack of consideration for trees and vegetation in place has been acutely troublesome. So often many developments lack consideration of and design consistent with our climate and disregard for early architectural types which respected the landscape. Have witnessed wholesale removal of old growth trees during the slash & burn development plans of lot line to lot line structures… Read more »

Seems Criminal
Seems Criminal
1 month ago
Reply to  Seems Criminal

Additionally it is my understanding that LA Fire has a substantial opinion about landscaping/vegetation on new development which seems at odds with the long term goals of conservation.

20
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x