Watch CBS News

Retaining Walls Not Helping As Cliff Erosion Threatens Oceanfront Homes In North Bay

BOLINAS (KPIX 5) -- Cliff erosion keeps threatening oceanfront homes in the North Bay. The water making up magnificent, million-dollar views is actually getting closer and retaining walls do not always help.

There used to be a road between a home in Bolinas and the cliff it sits on, but as the cliff erodes away, it slowly falls into the Pacific. The home's owner has approved permits from Marin County to build a retaining wall, but the Coastal Commission Review denied their permit.

Marin County wouldn't talk, citing litigation, and the Coastal Commission didn't return KPIX 5's request for comment.

But longtime Bolinas resident and Volunteer Fire Captain Peter Smith says the cliff erosion is a somewhat of a standard occurrence in the area.

"Couple years ago, two, three houses went down. It's constantly happening. Where we are standing used to be a road. You build a house by the ocean, Mother Nature is going to get you!" Smith said.

To prove his point, Smith took KPIX on a tour.

"That house was right here and this whole area is just oozing down, constantly!"

Example after example, lot after lot, he says the Bolinas cliffs are all moving.

He pointed to a retaining wall that was 40 feet up the hill. A wall there and the house behind it all came down only four years ago.

"I don't think there's any way you can stop it," Smith said.

But the house still hasn't gone down yet and the owner is still trying to save it. He has about 50 feet to go.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.