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Re: Alquist Priolo Occupancy

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I am not "asking the Architect", I am responding to the Architects design as shown on the entitlement drawings.  The geotech provides for a 25 foot set back as opposed to the 50 feet required under Alquist Priolo.  The fault trace and required setback for "occupied structures" is clearly shown on the drawings, and the Architect clearly shows elevated courtyard and ramp running through the zone, with the "building footprint" following the geologist setback line.  This is splitting hairs with regard to "occupied structures" as someone else already pointed out.  Driveways, minor site walls, swimming pools are all allowed to occupy the Alquist Priolo zone under the wording of the Act.
This is part of the issue, the entitlement process is not raising the necessary red flags.  I am hopeful that the planning approval process would catch up with the issue eventually. Unfortunately I am the only one questioning the design at this stage of the process.  If the building encroached into the zone there would be no room for opposing interpretations, but in this case there is a difference of opinion as to whether the proposed design would be (or should be) allowed.  It is not a simple issue with regard to the design.  Moving the point of entry / egress to the parking garage would require substantial (read as complete) redesign of the lower levels, and possibly the entire project.
Thanks to everyone once again.  We are standing firm that the design as shown is not adequate.  Either a new design will be prepared, or they will replace the squeaky wheel and proceed down the garden path with a different partner.
On a separate note, this is precisely the type of technical issue the Architect is supposed to address.  The architect is responsible for developing a plan that complies with all the site constraints: view corridors, setbacks, ADA, egress, FAR, zoning and occupancy, along with area separations, fire requirements, and so on.  How can you think the Architect is not supposed to be an expert on legal and technical issues?  Who do you think is supposed to be responsible for all these issues?
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, June 23, 2005 9:38 PM
Subject: Re: Alquist Priolo Occupancy

BCainse(--nospam--at) wrote:
Under the Alquist-Priolo Act and the policies of the State Geology Board, the cities and counties have primary responsibility for implementing the zoning regulations and they can be more stringent than state law.  You should contact the local building department or planning agency where the project is located to determine their requirements.  
Definitely. Need planning department's blessing before going further with the detailed design.
Suresh Acharya, S.E.

Steve Grodin makes some good points on the moral arguments against creating such a ramp in his email responding to your query. The policies developed under the law suggest that cities or counties can be liable for death and injury from earthquakes if they don't carry out there responsibilities under the law. I'm sure a smart lawyer could extend that reasoning to the Engineer without much effort.
The Cities of Oakland and Berkeley have had exemptions written into the law exempting properties damaged by the 1991 Firestorm even though they may be in the fault zone.
Note also that the zone is defined as within 50 feet of an active trace so you really have a 100 foot wide zone, centered on the fault restricted from buildings for human occupancy. If there are multiple traces, which are not uncommon on the Hayward Fault in the S.F. Bay Area, the zone can be even wider.
Bill Cain, S.E.
Berkeley CA
In a message dated 6/22/2005 2:52:01 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, pfeather(--nospam--at) writes:
We have a current project where the entitlement package is indicating the ramp to underground parking (covered as part of exterior courtyard) is crossing a designated Alquist Priolo fault trace.
My interpretation would be this is not permitted.  The Architects interpretation is that it is permitted as this is not an occupied structure (2000 hours per year).  I question this as, apart from the obvious problems of the retaining walls and ramp plus covering slab suffering differential movement crossing the fault trace, the courtyard is elevated and it is hard to quantify the occupancy.  The ramp is a means of egress with constant daily vehicle use, but also hard to quantify occupancy.
Any input from my peers?  Am I reading too much into this?  I know pools and hardscape are permitted to cross the fault trace, but they do not typically form a collapse mechanism.

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