IMPERIAL BEACH — All that remains of a small, sandy beachfront yard once filled with lounge chairs and a fire pit are precariously stacked, protective boulders that residents of a four-unit Imperial Beach condominium complex say have sunk up to 10 feet.
A particularly damaging mix of high tides and high surf and a growing number of winter storms have stripped the sand from much of Imperial Beach, resulting in an emergency situation for Bill and Marty Arbuckle and their neighbors on Ocean Lane. They have asked the city to permit them to temporarily protect their condos with special 6-by-6-foot sandbags.
“This is the first time since we’ve lived here that we’ve had this kind of a problem,” Bill Arbuckle said last week from his home of 12 years as wisps of water from crashing waves reached his second-story sliding-glass door.
Imperial Beach officials, who approved the condominium owners’ request for temporary shoreline protection, say the problem isn’t limited to those at the condominiums.
“Shoreline erosion is a constant in our city but we’ve had consistent high storm and high tide events since December,” said Community Development Director Greg Wade. “Encinitas, Carlsbad and other coastal cities are having similar issues. The surf is so consistently high, there is no time for sand to settle back on the beach, which provides protection.”
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