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The Real Deal Los Angeles

Earthquake maps now show Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive at risk

Areas in fault zones could face limits on development
January 24, 2018 10:00AM

Rodeo Drive (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Beverly Hills was thought to be in the safe zone when the draft maps of earthquake fault lines were released last year. Now? Not so much.

The final version of California Geological Survey’s map shows the Santa Monica fault line extending a mile farther northeast throughout the Golden Triangle, including glitzy Rodeo Drive. It cuts through the heart of the Westside, with sections running through Century City, Westwood, Brentwood, Santa Monica and Pacific Palisades, the Los Angeles Times reported.

That could mean Beverly Hills — home to some of the most expensive retail brands and residential real estate in the country — could face limits on new developments.

The maps are the first step to drawing seismic safety laws to areas at risk of earthquakes. Property owners and developers in the area would have to hire geologists to survey the land to make sure that projects aren’t located directly on an active fault line. Local building officials would then have the final authority on whether new buildings are far enough away from the faults.

Existing buildings would not have to be altered, according to California law, saving owners costly work. A cluster of mid-rise buildings and shops currently populate those expensive streets. 

As for its residential component, longtime Beverly Hills resident and broker Rochelle Maize doesn’t expect it to impact prices too much.

“What you’ll see happen is just stricter standards and retrofitting requirements, as well as more geological inspections,” Maize said. “You’re still going to have Beverly Hills with the iconic 90210 zip code at a premium.” The mudslides in Montecito have also raised awareness for stricter inspections, according to Madison Hildebrand.

The Santa Monica fault is capable of producing a magnitude 7 earthquake. It could rupture simultaneously with the Hollywood and Raymond faults in a massive earthquake, but experts say that event is extremely unlikely. [LAT] — Natalie Hoberman