New earthquake maps could restrict development in some of LA’s priciest areas

Santa Monica apartment building after the 1994 Northridge earthquake (Getty Images)
Santa Monica apartment building after the 1994 Northridge earthquake (Getty Images)

The Westside’s Brentwood neighborhood is seen as one of the safest in Los Angeles. But when it comes to Earthquake fault lines? Not so much.

New draft maps show that fault lines run through some of the most expensive real estate markets, including Brentwood, the Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, Century City, Westwood and West L.A., the Los Angeles Times reported. The maps were created as part of a recent effort to keep new buildings from being constructed on fault lines. If lawmakers approve them, they could severely restrict development in those areas.

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If lawmakers give the maps the go-ahead, state law would require developers who wish to build in a fault zone hire a geologist to investigate whether construction will occur on an actual fault line. Local building officials will have the final authority on whether new buildings are far enough away from the faults, according the Times.

Tim Dawson, senior engineering geologist for the California Geological Survey, told the L.A. Times it’s important not to build on faults. If the ground moves dramatically, he said, a building on a fault can completely collapse.

The increased state mapping of faults comes as cities such as Santa Monica and West Hollywood pass laws requiring property owners to retrofit certain types of buildings prone to experiencing major earthquake damage. [LAT] — Subrina Hudson