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Last Homes Removed From Pacifica Cliff

PACIFICA (CBS SF) -- There once was a Pacifica neighborhood along Esplanade Avenue where the residents had breathtaking views of sunsets and miles of Pacific Ocean shoreline.

But Mother Nature had other plans. El Nino storms and raging seas ate away at the cliff side. One by one, the homes were condemned and destroyed as they teetered on the edge.

On Thursday, crews began ripping down the final two homes. Across the street, Melissa McConnell and her husband stood arm-in-arm watching their dream house being torn down by a front-end loader.

The McConnells had bought the home from a bank that had repossessed it in 2009. The house had been battered by squatters, copper pipes had been ripped from the walls.

"It was a complete rebuild," Melissa told KPIX. "Every weekend, every day off, every dime went into the house."

The McConnells tried to save the home, searching for months for a lot where it could be relocated.

"It was hard to give up the dream," she said. "As soon as they yellow tagged the house, my husband came up with the idea (to move it to a safe location)."

They moved the house back 20 feet from the cliff, but their efforts to find another lot elsewhere in Pacifica just came up with "a lot of near misses."

The McConnells were forced out of the home by storms in January 2015 and later moved their belongings into storage. Those storms caused 14 homes to be torn down in their neighborhood.

"We were privileged to have it as long as we did," Melissa said.

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