Costa Mesa : Segerstrom Offers to Inspect Home Damage

C. J. Segerstrom & Sons has announced that it will "work with" 15 homeowners whose property, according to a city engineering survey, has been damaged by the company's construction of an 11-foot dirt berm at the back of the South Coast Plaza mall expansion project.

In a statement, Segerstrom's director of development, Malcolm Ross, said: "We will work with the city to establish a system to monitor the possible effects of the berm. We will also work with individual affected homeowners adjacent to the berm."

Cracks in 147 north Costa Mesa homes and streets began appearing at about the same time that construction began on the South Coast Plaza annex at Sunflower Avenue and Bear Street and also on a nearby 296-unit Arnel Development apartment project.

Many residents suspected the damage to their homes was caused by the removal of thousands of gallons of water from the excavation site to make way for an underground parking structure.

But a city-commissioned engineering survey revealed that with the exception of the damage caused by the dirt berm--which serves as a noise and visual barrier for the residents whose homes are smack up against the mall annex--most of the cracking was caused by the area's naturally expansive clay soil.

In response to the engineering report, however, Segerstrom has offered to inspect each of the 15 affected or potentially affected homes as the first step toward resolving the problem.

To date, more than 100 residents have filed claims against the city, seeking about $100 million in damages.

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