Somebody Remembers the Floods of 2015 and 2016 When 2 Lamborghinis Were Caught in Condo’s Underground Garage

by on December 3, 2018 · 4 comments

in Ocean Beach

Photo by Elliott Blackwood, posted with permission.

Somebody in OB has a sense of humor and of history. They put up this sign next to the condo complex at Abbott and Saratoga.

The million-dollar condos flooded twice – once in September 2015 and then again in January 2016 – and both times a Lamborghini was caught.

Jan. 6, 2016

See this : Rains Flood Garage of New Condo Complex at Abbott and Saratoga

and then see this: Saratoga Million-Dollar Condos Flood for Second Time in 4 Months

Thing is, the community warned the developer about floods in OB and yet they went ahead anyway and built them. See the following:

From OB Rag, Jan. 7, 2016 by Doug Porter

‘We Told You So’ in Ocean Beach

One condominium complex in Ocean Beach was featured on newscasts throughout the region. Resident Johnny Caito made a YouTube video featuring the area around Saratoga and Abbott Streets.

The OB Rag ended up calling the units The Million Dollar Condos. Years of community opposition to building what some considered to be a fortress-type structure on the beach front ended with the OB Planning Board approving the plans in November 2011.

In September 2015 the OBRag reported that a brand new Lamborghini and seven other cars parked in the development were damaged by flooding.

The condos and the underground garage were built after years of community opposition to the project – and after umpteen warnings from OBceans about the natural flooding that comes – literally with the territory – the OB beachfront.

It has always flooded in that area. Either from high tides, big rains – or both – this area has always been subject to overflow water.

Credit: OB Rag

$600K to get it fixed. Credit: OB Rag

The pre-construction promises made by the developer of the complex depicted in the video included a 27 car subterranean parking garage to be “water-proof and be designed with a de-watering system.”

Despite plenty of evidence to the contrary, the California Coastal Commission granted a construction permit, based on a staff report declaring:

…over the last several decades there has been no shoreline retreat in front of the site; it has not been subject to significant flooding, erosion damage or wave run-up attack in the past, including the 1982-83 El Niño winter; and the proposed habitable improvements are above any potential coastal hazard.

Here’s Stephen Scatolini, via the San Diego Reader back in 2009:

It should be noted that during the heavy rains of the 1982-83 El Niño event, runoff from the hillside above the beach was so extreme that I was able to sail a windsurfer — with center board in place — down Abbott Street from Santa Monica Avenue to Saratoga Avenue. So, the water in Abbott Street was at least 40 inches deep — that’s a block uphill from the proposed entrance to the subterranean garage.

When the surf is up and the tides are high and the rain is dumping, storm drains are ineffective and the water backs up into the streets. (Ask Steve Goebel of Cleanline Carpet how many times he’s vacuumed out flooded businesses along the bottom of Newport and Abbott Streets.) Even if the new sub-grade garage has a de-watering system, there is nowhere for the water to go once it’s pumped out of the garage.

Remember this story the next time you hear a politico-apologist for developers complaining about the building process in San Diego.

This is an excerpt from Doug Porter’s column at San Diego Free Press.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul Webb December 4, 2018 at 10:43 am

The architect for this project is also the architect for the La Playa condo development right along the bay, which will also have underground or semi-underground parking. Just sayin’.


Geoff Page December 4, 2018 at 2:12 pm

Who was the architect? Was it Morton?


Lori Saldana December 5, 2018 at 11:50 am

These developers are just following the city of San Diego’s Planning Commission lead: 20 years ago, they authorized an expanded parking structure in the southeast area of Fashion Valley, adjacent to the river, by claiming it would serve as an emergency flood control channel in case of rains.

Signs are posted to remind people who are shopping that in case of rain, their cars may become submerged. Apparently, these condo owners need to post a few signs as well.

The Fashion Valley parking structure/flood control channel hybrid design has worked. It has reliably flooded many times ever since. Not sure how many cars have been caught in the run-off.


Paul Webb December 6, 2018 at 9:59 am

Yes, if I am not mistaken.


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