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Re: Paso Robles Earthquake/Hardship

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> Subject: Re: Paso Robles Earthquake
> Pardon my naivete, but I thought that building departments were
> obligated to 
> protect the public, not building owners.  I am unaware of any 
> building
> owner 
> that will not claim undue hardship when any proposed law is passed
> requiring 
> improvements to their buildings.  (They also routinely protest 
> property 
> taxes, having retained a professional protester who will file 
> protests
> each 
> year automatically.)

Protecting the public can be done in many ways and to varying degrees but
not many judges will uphold an ordinance that will bankrupt owners. What
is done many times is to protect the perimeter from falling bricks or
concrete by erecting a barricade and restricting the use to storage or
some other non-intensive use while some kind of funding is secured to
retrofit or partially retrofit the most hazardous buildings. Sometimes
this takes years. The extent of retrofitting specified to be done
requires lots of thought. If too stringent there will be little done and
a revolt will occur and the judges will decide what to do and how to pay
for it. But this is not an excuse for doing nothing. I am surprised by
the large number of cities and counties which have no soft story retrofit
ordinance at all.

Stan Scholl, P.E.
Laguna Beach, CA  

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