October 21, 2021 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

LA Wants Updates on Earthquake Retrofit Compliance

The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to get a full update on seismic retrofits required by law in roughly 15,000 buildings, a move that comes as the city is also exploring the creation of a program to help property owners pay for the upgrades.

The council passed an ordinance in 2015 requiring the retrofitting, but the high up-front costs can cause enormous financial strain on property owners and could prevent its implementation, according to a motion introduced by Councilman Mitchell Englander and approved last month.

The new motion approved on a 12-0 vote directs the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety to draft a report which includes how many property owners are in compliance with the ordinance, enforcement measures that have been taken to ensure compliance, and how many buildings are still in need of a retrofit.

When Mayor Eric Garcetti signed the 2015 ordinance into law, it gave Los Angeles the nation’s strongest earthquake safety rules. The measure applies to older buildings considered vulnerable in major earthquakes, including roughly 13,500 wood-framed “soft-story” buildings with weak lower floors, such as multi-story apartments with tuck-under parking spaces, and an estimated 1,500 vulnerable concrete buildings.

Under the ordinance, seismic retrofits of wooden structures must occur within seven years, and retrofits of concrete buildings within 25 years, with certain benchmarks to be met along the way.

The ordinance targets buildings constructed prior to the enactment of seismic building standards, which include pre-1978 soft-story wooden buildings and concrete buildings with permits dating back to before Jan. 13, 1977.

Retrofitting can cost upwards of $130,000 for wood-frame buildings and millions of dollars for larger concrete buildings. The city does have programs that focus on cost recovery for owners, but there are no programs that provide up-front financial assistance, according to Englander’s motion.

Once the work is completed, an owner can recover 50 percent of the cost through the city’s Seismic Retrofit Program. But if the work cannot be completed within the time frame, the building could be demolished and impact the city’s effort to maintain as much of its affordable housing as possible at a time of rising homelessness and spikes in the cost of renting or owning a home.

A possible source of funding for the program could be the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund, according to the motion. The fund has been depleted in recent years due to cuts in federal funding, but it could benefit from a windfall by next year as a result of the City Council and Garcetti signing off late last year on a linkage fee for developers that’s predicted to generate about $100 million annually for the fund.

“Providing assistance to property owners required to seismically secure their buildings would directly prevent the loss of the city’s already limited and valuable affordable and rent-stabilized housing stock,” the motion says.

A Santa Monica apartment building destroyed by the Northridge earthquake in 1994.
Photo: Getty Images
Related Posts

Ocean Park’s Uplifters Kitchen Closes

October 20, 2021

October 20, 2021

Westside Dining Scene October 21, 2021 By Dolores Quintana Sadly, Uplifter’s Kitchen, a health conscious vegetarian and vegan friendly cafe...

Charges Filed Against Woman for Attacking Former “Survivor” Contestant in Santa Monica

October 20, 2021

October 20, 2021

Michelle Yi, two other unnamed victims attacked in area of 2nd and Arizona By Dolores Quintana and Sam Catanzaro Michelle...

Community Volunteer Patrol Program Brings Civilians New Insight Into Law Enforcement

October 19, 2021

October 19, 2021

The West LA Police Department has a community patrol program bridging the gap between civilians and law enforcement. Video brought...

E-Bike Company Wheels Settles Consumer Protection Lawsuit With Santa Monica

October 19, 2021

October 19, 2021

Company agrees to pay $300k for operating without a license in 2019 By Sam Catanzaro E-bike company Wheels recently settled...

Santa Monica Fire Department Put Out Two Freeway Blazes Over Weekend

October 19, 2021

October 19, 2021

No injuries reported in Sunday morning incident By Sam Catanzaro The Santa Monica Fire Department (SMFD) made quick work putting...

Vice President Kamala Harris Visits Santa Monica For The Weekend: Santa Monica Beat – October 18, 2021

October 18, 2021

October 18, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Vice President Kamala Harris Visits Santa Monica For The Weekend *...

Santa Monica’s 100 Homes Initiative Moves Forward

October 16, 2021

October 16, 2021

City seeks public participation in new HUD-funded program By Dolores Quintana The City of Santa Monica is moving forward with...

Former Mesa PD Chief to Lead Santa Monica Police Department

October 15, 2021

October 15, 2021

Ramon Batista selected as Santa Monica’s first Latino police chief By Sam Catanzaro Ramon Batista, Jr., the former police chief...

Closing Celebration for Hispanic Heritage Month Today

October 14, 2021

October 14, 2021

This Friday, October 15, the Santa Monica community is invited to a closing ceremony for Santa Monica’s first Hispanic Heritage...

Three SMC Professors Receive First-Ever Michelson Intellectual Property Educator of Excellence Award

October 13, 2021

October 13, 2021

The Michelson Institute for Intellectual Property (Michelson  IP) is proud to award three Santa Monica College faculty members with the...

An Interview with Zach Rash, CEO of Coco Food Robotic Delivery

October 11, 2021

October 11, 2021

Coco Delivery, is a completely contactless food delivery service that uses human piloted robots to deliver meals from the restaurant...

Message From Santa Monica’s New City Manager David White

October 11, 2021

October 11, 2021

To the Santa Monica Community – it is with tremendous excitement that today I begin my first day as your...

Three Santa Monica College Faculty Receive Michelson IP Educator Award: Santa Monica Beat – October 11, 2021

October 11, 2021

October 11, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * City Council Set To Approve Plan For 9 Thousand New Housing...

U.S Secretary of Veterans Affairs Visits Veterans Encampment Outside VA

October 11, 2021

October 11, 2021

On Wednesday, the Secretary of U.S. Veterans Affairs and Mark Takano visited the veterans homeless encampment along san vicente blvd....

Mid-Century Ocean Avenue Apartments Sell for $70 Million

October 9, 2021

October 9, 2021

Westside Real Estate Scene October 11, 2021 By Dolores Quintana As reported by the Santa Monica Lookout, a mid-century apartment...