More than three months after a 6.8-magnitude quake ravaged homes and businesses, the Los Angeles City Council voted Friday to waive for 18 months the permit fees normally charged to rebuild the structures.
But the waiver is not expected to cost the city anything because the Federal Emergency Management Agency has agreed to reimburse the city for the lost fees, city officials said.
Property owners who have paid an estimated $1.7 million in fees for about 15,000 permits issued so far by the city for quake repairs can be reimbursed by submitting a form available at all city Building and Safety Department offices, officials said.
To qualify for the waiver, building owners must prove that the damage was caused by the Jan. 17 quake, said Walter Krukow, chief management analyst for the Building and Safety Department. The waiver will not extend to improvements, such as added rooms, made to quake-damaged buildings, he said.
The city has already waived fees for permits needed to rebuild block walls and chimneys. In addition, it is providing free demolition of severely damaged structures and free cleanup of quake debris. FEMA is expected to reimburse the city for all such quake-related recovery programs.
The proposal to waive the fees was made by Los Angeles Councilwoman Laura Chick, who said she hopes the waiver will help ease the burden on property owners trying to rebuild after the quake.