The West Hollywood City Council adopted a resolution in support of AB 2681, by Adrin Nazarian (D-Van Nuys), a legislative initiative that will require local governments to develop an inventory of potentially seismically vulnerable buildings and report findings to the state’s Office of Emergency Services.
The council directed Community and Legislative Affairs Division staff to send copies of the adopted resolution to Gov. Jerry Brown, state Sen. Benjamin Allen (D-Santa Monica), Assemblymen Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) and Nazarian, and other parties as deemed appropriate.
California has endured a number of devastating earthquakes and some of them have resulted in extensive damage to personal property and public infrastructure. The 1994 Northridge earthquake exposed how vulnerable certain residential and commercial buildings were to strong quakes, prompting revisions to the state’s Uniform Building Code and different cities’ building codes.
These revisions, while essential to prevent bodily injury and deaths, do not change the fact that older buildings, not constructed to sustain a high magnitude earthquake, could collapse. As local government leaders across the state continue to prepare for the next inevitable earthquake, the realization that older buildings may collapse in case of a severe earthquake propels the need for action. Some cities such as Los Angeles and West Hollywood, which are located on a number of earthquake fault lines and have vulnerable buildings, have jumped into action and completed inventories of potentially vulnerable buildings, which can be used to determine a building’s ability to sustain an earthquake.
West Hollywood has taken other steps to address structural seismic safety. In May 2015, the City Council directed staff to address the structural seismic safety issues of the city’s existing building stock and develop a framework for a seismic retrofit program. After issuing a request for proposals for a consulting firm to assist the city with a Seismic Retrofit Program, Degenkolb Engineers, a top structural engineering company specializing in seismic strengthening solutions, was selected to conduct a survey of the city’s entire existing building stock and assist with the development of a seismic retrofit plan and ordinance.
AB 2681 has been approved by both the Assembly Committees on Governmental Organization and Local Government and currently is in Assembly Appropriations Committee. The bill is supported by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Fair Council Housing of Riverside County, Inc. AB 2681 is opposed by the California Association of Realtors.
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