Mountain View Voice

News - September 23, 2011

After delays, work begins on mobile home park

Repairs to landslide damage held up by regulations, red tape

by Nick Veronin

Construction crews began work earlier this month shoring up the river banks on a portion of Stevens Creek that runs behind a Mountain View mobile home park. The project comes six months after three plots in the park were damaged by heavy rains, which caused a section of cliff abutting the creek to collapse. The sliding slope took the majority of three backyards with it, ripping away fences and back porches.

The crews will rebuild as much of the collapsed cliff walls as possible, according to Maria Ahmad, general manager of the Sahara Mobile Village. The aim is to get the three damaged lots back to the way they were before the landslide.

To impede erosion in the future, the crews are using a combination of concrete, rocks, wire and dirt to form a barrier against the movement of water through the creek and against rain. Dirt will also be packed in between the rocks, Ahmad said, which will allow plants and grasses to take root, further strengthening wall.

According to John Vidovich, head of the real estate firm that owns the Sahara Mobile Village, construction was delayed due to an abundance of bureaucratic red tape that he and his company, De Anza Properties, had to negotiate before breaking ground.

Before Vidovich could begin work, he needed to secure approval from eight local, state and federal agencies. "I learned what hell is, and it's working with these public agencies," he said.

The project was supposed to begin at the start of August. But it took months of meeting with officials from the city of Mountain View, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Fish and Game, California Regional Water Quality Control Board, the Santa Clara Valley Water District, the National Marine Fisheries Service, Caltrans, and the state's Department of Housing and Community Development before all the appropriate signatures could be collected.

"It put us behind," Ahmad said, noting that she and Vidovich had hoped to begin construction by Aug. 1. Now construction crews have under a month to complete their work. Their permits only allow them to work through Oct. 15.

The project is going to cost De Anza Properties more than $1 million, but in the end, Ahmad said, "It's going to look nice and it's going to be pleasing for us. It's going to make things safer."

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