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Huntington Beach : City Issues Reminder on Quake Standards

The earthquake devastation in Mexico City has prompted Huntington Beach officials to remind owners of 50 downtown buildings that plans for renovating or demolishing those structures to meet seismic code standards must be filed by Nov. 10.

“We want to be assured that there will be quick follow-through and that people understand that we are going to be tough about this,” said Mayor Ruth Bailey.

At a mayor’s committee meeting with City Hall staff members last week, Bailey said, she and Vice Mayor Bob Mandic and Councilman Jack Kelly, a former mayor, emphasized that they would not tolerate any delays.

“The earthquake in Mexico City was foremost on our minds at the meeting,” she said.

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A 1978 city survey found that 54 buildings, all but two in the downtown area near Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway, were built in the 1920s and 1930s of non-reinforced brick and limestone mortar and probably would not withstand a major earthquake.

City officials approved an ordinance setting the seismic safety requirements that must be met by all buildings. Later, they gave owners of the 54 buildings an extension in complying with the ordinance until a year after approval by the California Coastal Commission of the city’s coastal plan, which covers much of the downtown area.

The commission approved the city’s plan last November, turning most planning and land-use matters over to the city.

Last May 10, notices were sent to the owners of 50 buildings downtown and two nearby buildings that they had six months to file plans and six more months to complete construction or demolition, said Mike Adams, the city’s principal redevelopment planner. Owners of two other downtown buildings, meantime, had completed renovations, he said.

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