WeHo condo owners get a pass on mandatory seismic retrofitting

Sierra Towers (credit: SierraTowersLiving.com)
Sierra Towers (credit: SierraTowersLiving.com)

Seismologists project a major earthquake is in the cards for Southern California. Whether it happens this week or in 10 years, West Hollywood condominium owners have a free pass at making sure their buildings are safe from earthquakes.

The West Hollywood City Council unanimously approved a motion on Monday allowing condo owners to be exempt from a proposed ordinance that would require many of the city’s buildings to follow a seismic retrofit program.

City officials agreed in April to require wood-frame buildings with soft or open front walls like those with first floor, tucked in parking to be retrofitted, WEHOville reported.

City staffers were asked to return with an additional proposal requiring concrete and steel frame buildings to also be ready for an earthquake. 

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However, condo owners argued against the move citing high costs to prepare their buildings from any damage. 

Jim Goodrich, a resident of Sierra Towers on Doheny Road, said it could cost owners as much as $600,000 to $1 million per unit. Owners of condos in buildings such as Doheny West, the Plaza Towers and Shoreham Towers also objected the proposal.

While owners of luxury condos will get a pass, owners of the 780 “soft-story” apartment buildings in the city will have until 2023 to retrofit them from earthquake damage with costs estimated at $160,000 per building. 

A report from the city’s Community Development Department noted that it’s looking to offer alternative safety solutions for concrete and steel-frame buildings this fall. [WEHO]Subrina Hudson