San Francisco

Mexico Earthquake Highlights Need for Soft-Story Retrofit Programs in Bay Area

While San Francisco and some other cities have required soft-story retrofit programs, not all Bay Area cities do.

In Oakland, City Councilman Dan Kalb says he plans to submit plans for a mandatory soft-story retrofit program next year.

This week's massive earthquake in Mexico brings the issue back into focus for the East Bay city to have an ordinance, targeting buildings that could be more vulnerable in a quake.

The Loma Prieta earthquake left a path of destruction.

San Francisco's Marina District is perhaps one of the most glaring examples of soft-story buildings unable to withstand an earthquake. San Francisco has a retrofit ordinance targeting such vulnerable buildings.

Michael Germeraad with the Association of Bay Area Governments says there are a number of jurisdictions that need to have a retrofit program.

Kalb is working on an ordinance and plans to bring it forward net year, requiring owners of soft-story apartment buildings to retrofit their buildings. He says Oakland has worked on inventory and reporting, and adds there should be an element to address cost.

Kalb also said there are grants to help subsidize a portion of the cost.

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