Interactive Sunday – Toads and Other Natural Hazards

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spotted-toad.jpgI wrote about the Mt. Soledad landslide last week and the impact it had on my clients who had considered purchasing one of the now red-tagged homes a couple of months ago. They have since found another, still within La Jolla but several miles away. Under contract, they are understandably concerned about the geological particulars.

I have now spent three days this lazy Sunday morning at www.sangis.org, the website for San Diego maps, trying to get more information. The banner on the website reads SanGIS Interactive Map. Nothing gives a sense of empowerment like the word “interactive”. You see, I, having a moderate grasp of the English language, understand that the word “interactive” suggests that I will do something (say, click on an option) and then the map will do something in return (like, oh, return information related to my selected option). You’ve got to love the whole reciprocity thing.

I have now spent 45 full minutes watching the little Microsoft icon swirl with delight, my cue that the map is ready to interact with me… any minute now. Oh sure, the little busy-bar tells me that my map is being “retrieved”, presumably from Bora Bora. This is, after all, a government website. Some guy named Gus, the one charged with scanning the maps as the requests come in, is probably on break. I could have rented a large auger-equipped truck and taken my own bore samples by now.

While we wait, this gives me an opportunity to remind buyers to read that all-important Natural Hazard Disclosure Report. We Californians have a tendency to poke fun at these little statutory requirements, but they do have a purpose. While I have yet to have a client cancel contract because their report discloses proximity to the protected habitat of the spotted toad (that’s a real category, although they have now lumped the toad in with the ferry shrimp under the “protected species” section, which I suspect the ferry shrimp are none too happy about), the reports do give the heads up if the property is located within mapped areas of landslide, flood or liquefaction potential.

That concludes this morning’s public service announcement. It looks like my website is still gearing up to “interact”, and I need to be ready. I’m glad we have a long escrow.

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