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story.lead_photo.caption Keith Bryant/The Weekly Vista Trucks haul material into the Hull Dermatology construction site alongside Sunset Drive.

The Board of Zoning Adjustments approved a variance to build a retaining wall adjacent to Sunset Drive at the Hull Dermatology construction site.

The variance was to place the retaining wall adjacent to the front property line and at 20 feet from the planned building. City code typically requires the wall to be 13.5 feet from the property line and 22 feet from the planned building. City staff recommended approval.

David Gilbert, an engineer representing Hull, explained that the wall in question will be approximately 200 feet long and will extend across the currently-damaged portion of Sunset Drive.

"This site's really unusual; it's very steep. So, to develop this site takes some doing," he said.

The extreme slope of the property and of Sunset Drive makes for dangerous conditions. The slope is steeper than a slope in which soil is typically stable, he said.

When work initially began at the site, contractors started digging and got too ambitious, making the slope between the road and the site too steep to be stable and the ground beneath the road failed.

There are also tire tracks on the road and a dent in the guard rail nobody knows the story behind, Gilbert said, and it's possible a truck hitting the guardrail further destabilized the ground.

Geotechnical engineers examined the site after the road failed in September and tried to come up with a solution that brings the slope to a safety factor of 1 or greater, meaning it will not fail.

The existing slope is too steep, he said, and reducing that slope is going to require a retaining wall.

"We've got about a 9-foot vertical gap that we need to fill, that means another retaining wall," he said. "We believe the best solution for all parties concerned, including the city, is to put this wall so that the back side of this wall is on the property line."

Vice Chairman Chuck Whittenberg said he believes a lot of this situation was outside the contractor's control, but workers are now faced with fixing the situation.

"I believe that they've done a good job trying to achieve that," he said.

The board approved the variance unanimously.

The board also approved a variance to add a second accessory structure to a lot on Dunsford Circle and a variance to build an addition to a residence on Daniel Lane.

General News on 02/13/2019

Print Headline: Zoning board approves Sunset Drive retaining wall

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