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    Rolling Hills Estates and LA County establish fund for landslide victims
    • July 13, 2023

    The city of Rolling Hills Estates and Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn’s office announced Wednesday, July 12, they have teamed up to form a $125,000 fund for the residents displaced by the recent land movement on Peartree Lane.

    Rolling Hills Estates will contribute $25,000 to the fund, while Hahn’s office will support the fund with $100,000, which will “provide an option for temporary housing, food and other essentials for residents who have been ordered to evacuate their homes,” according to a press release.

    Mayor Britt Huff said in a phone interview Wednesday that she first saw the damage after it was reported on July 8, and has seen it progressively get worse over the following few days. But she said there was positive report on Tuesday the land movement was “tapering off” and might be stabilizing.

    “Obviously everybody’s still in a state of shock,” Huff added.

    In a statement, Hahn said the residents lost everything in the disaster.

    “Many of them poured their life savings into these homes and lost it all in a matter of hours,” said Hahn, who added the funds would give residents support while they work out what to do next.

    “When these funds run out, these people will still need help,” Hahn said, “and I hope that our federal and state partners can offer their support.”

    City officials, meanwhile, on Tuesday evening, declared a local emergency specifically to get the ball rolling on potential state and federal funding.

    The emergency declaration, according to a staff report, is the first step to city officials requesting further financial support from the State Office of Emergency Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

    But city officials have no idea how much it will cost to help the residents whose homes were destroyed.

    Helping with displacement is only a piece of the puzzle for residents who have lost everything, including, for many, what is probably their largest investment: the equity in their homes.

    The financial toll is mammoth.

    According to information from the real estate site Zillow, for example, the townhouses range from just over $1 million to $1.6 million.

    And, though the land has stabilized under the homes according to RHE’s last two community updates on Wednesday, there are still many unknowns in what city staffers called “the evolving nature of the situation” in a report before Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

    Much hinges on the forthcoming analysis of a geologist, according to a city spokesperson. Until then, RHE has referred all questions about the land movement to Scott Management, the property management company for the homeowner’s association. The HOA is responsible for hiring a geologist, according to city and county officials.

    “The City can not speculate on the outcome of this land movement at this time as there has been no geological analysis and the situation remains active,” said a City spokesperson via email on Wednesday.

    A representative for Scott Management, meanwhile, did not return multiple requests for comment.

    Funds for displacement relief, meanwhile, are coming from a variety of sources.

    The $25,000 from Rolling Hills Estates will come from unused American Rescue Plan Act 2021 resources, “available for discretionary expenses that were allocated to the City by the Federal Government as part of the COVID-19 response and relief package,” according to the press release. Funds from Hahn’s office are coming from the Fourth Supervisorial District Housing Discretionary Fund.

    According to the press release, the day after the Rolling Hills City Council unanimously declared a local emergency at its July 11 meeting, RHE has aided residents displaced by negotiating a “reasonable daily rate at a hotel in the South Bay region to provide up to three weeks of housing.”

    Clothing, toiletries, food and other essentials will be supplied to the residents.

    “Some displaced residents were only given minutes to evacuate, leaving behind basics that one would normally bring on a short trip,” read the statement.

    Twelve structures were originally red tagged when the land started to slide in the RHE gated community, followed by five more that were evacuated because of a broken sewer line.

    “They can’t stay and live in there, but they can go into the house, is my understanding,” said Huff, on Wednesday, of those five houses.

    “An additional 11 residential units on Peartree Lane are still on ‘watch,’ meaning they are not required to evacuate but are encouraged to do so as further assessment of the area continues,” according to the press release.

    As residents across the entire Peninsula begin asking questions about what to do in case of a landslide in the area susceptible to such events, the county aims to offer some answers.

    A Palos Verdes Peninsula public safety town hall is scheduled for Monday, July 17 at 5:30 p.m. The meeting, hosted by L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn featuring Sheriff Robert Luna, will be at the Palos Verdes Art Center, 5504 Crestridge Rd, in Rancho Palos Verdes. RSVP to [email protected] or call 310-519-6021.

    Residents and interested parties can also check a new city webpage for updates about the landslide incident at

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    ​ Orange County Register