Valleywide : City May Seek U.S. Aid for Seismic Upgrades

Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon introduced a motion to the City Council this week that would help commercial building owners meet the rising costs of complying with new earthquake safety codes.

Alarcon asked the council Wednesday to instruct city officials to apply to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for funds to help building owners cover some of the costs of seismic repairs required under new earthquake safety ordinances.

The city has already submitted an application to FEMA requesting financing for a similar program to help owners of residences meet the costs of complying with new regulations and making seismic improvements.

New regulations range from anchoring walls and installing automatic gas shut-off valves to inspections for steel-frame buildings, concrete parking garages and other structures.

After the Jan. 17, 1994, Northridge earthquake, the council required building owners to comply with those and other regulations, such as installation of special anchors on masonry chimneys that received more than 10% damage to keep them from collapsing during a future quake.

A motion brought earlier this year by Alarcon and City Councilman Hal Bernson established a citywide task force charged with developing incentives to help property owners pay for earthquake upgrades adopted by the council since the Northridge quake.

Alarcon's motion on Wednesday also sought approval to transfer $4,500 from disaster-assistance administrative funds to pay for overtime for city officials working to prepare the FEMA application, which must be submitted by the end of the month.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World