AGOURA HILLS : City Denies Claims Over Slide Damage
The city of Agoura Hills has denied more than $2 million in claims from four families whose homes were damaged during a massive mudslide last winter.
“We don’t believe there is any responsibility on the part of the city,” said Agoura Hills City Atty. Greg Stepanicich. Because the city was not incorporated when the houses were built, he said, “the city did not approve the buildings for the site, and there are no city facilities that are involved.”
But the claims filed by the families, who own homes on two parallel cul-de-sacs south of Agoura Road, state that the slope that failed during heavy rains in mid-February was manufactured to support the upper street, Calle Montecillo.
“It doesn’t matter that the street was built before the city incorporated,” said claimants’ attorney Richard Norton. “Once the street is dedicated and accepted into the city, the liability for that street comes along with it.”
At its regular meeting last week, the Agoura Hills City Council denied the claims for a combined $2 million in damage to the four properties and $250,000 in emotional damage to each family.
The families who filed the claims ere William and Irene Ferber; Zehra, Shahid and Adeela Ahsan, and Anwar Akhtar; Einar and Annie Lanaro, and Louis, Karen and Austin Alfonso.
The Ferbers claim that their home on Via Amistosa, the lower street, was destroyed by the mudslide. The Ahsans and Lanaros, who own homes on Via Amistosa, and the Alfonsos, whose home is on Calle Montecito, each claim their property was partly destroyed.