• Image by Scott Chatfield
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Heavy rain on the morning of December 12 damaged three businesses at 1002 North Coast Highway in Leucadia. After several hours of heavy downpour, employees arriving around 8:00 a.m. found four inches of water in their low-lying parking lot.

The most heavily flooded was Love Child — a children’s resale boutique. When the door to the business was opened, employee Alyssa found the water had entered, and spread throughout the 1200-square-foot business. Inventory that was on the floor was ruined.

Later in the morning, co-owner Andrew was busy removing salvageable inventory, through the water, while he was on the phone discussing the situation with his landlord. “This is due to improperly maintained drains,” Andrew said. Although he didn’t want to name the center’s owner, he said she was not being very helpful, and that this area has flooded in the past.

When first discovered, the Encinitas Fire Department showed up with sand bags, cut off the power, and helped carry out some heavy furniture.

Sandbags, and a higher front door threshold, helped save Sergio’s Salon del Sol next door. His store was not damaged but had to be closed for business. Water lapped at his front door.

When the rain finally stopped around 11:00 a.m., the high-water mark on the building’s white stucco showed it had receded about six inches, However, at its lowest point, the parking lot still held about seven inches of brown water.

In front of the other two businesses, La Papagayo restaurant had flooding in their kitchen, office, and a foot and a half of water in a below-grade storage area. They were waiting for a flood damage service to arrive, but general manager Jose said the insurance-provided services were all backlogged due to the storm. Hoping to open by 6:00 p.m., the one thing the restaurant may not have is napkins. All of the boxes of napkins were stored on the floor, in the low-lying storage area.

Meanwhile, two blocks south, at Leucadia’s Roadside Park (Coast Hwy. at the end of Leucadia Boulevard), the deep depression of the small park always serves as a catch basin for heavy rain runoff in the area. City of Encinitas crews were busy pumping thousands of gallons of water out of the park and into underground storm drains.

With many businesses not having curbs and gutters, the drainage system — or lack of it — gets overwhelmed. City officials on the scene said there was nothing they could do beyond emergency services of the fire department to help the three local businesses. A supervisor stated it was now the property owner’s responsibility.

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