Stop Devastating WeHo Seismic Retrofit Ordinance at the City Council meeting in July
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Hereby we, as members of West Hollywood community adversely affected by the proposed Seismic Retrofit ordinance, request West Hollywood City Council to:
- Move Seismic Retrofit Ordinance discussion to the top of the agenda at the June 19th meeting of the City Council.
- Provide exemption for non-ductile concrete and steel buildings, that are not currently subject to the ordinance, effective immediately; adhering to the existing and established practice of “grandfathered” structures not requiring upgrades until they are being modified.
- Make seismic retrofit upgrades for non-ductile concrete and steel buildings voluntary, consistent with the current single family home requirements.
We request this because proposed Seismic Retrofit Ordinance will have an assured devastating impact on our communities, including:
- Unbearable financial burden exceeding 100s of thousands of dollars per condo, that will be imposed on individual homeowners, including senior citizens, residents on fixed income and residents with disabilities, who will be driven into bankruptcies and will be losing their homes;
- Unbearable financial and logistical burden for residents having to relocate, in some cases for well over a year, during the construction, while having to pay costs of the retrofit and post-retrofit renovation, RE taxes, HOE fees and cost of the temporary residence during the construction;
- Adverse effect on the real estate prices and market activity, which has already taken place, causing tens of millions of dollars in damages to both realtors and the homeowners, as well as eventually decreasing tax revenue for the city;
- 100s of employees, contractors and small businesses employed by HOAs, whose livelihood depends on this income source, loosing their jobs and means to support their families;
- Adverse effect on businesses of West Hollywood serving our communities, losing their clients and income and consequently decreasing tax revenue for the city;
- Total cost of the retrofit by far exceeding WeHo staff estimates of roughly 1M per floor, because it does not factor in unforeseen conditions, that can add over 30% of the cost and double the construction time, as well as the cost of the asbestos abatement and replacing finishes both in common areas and in the individual units, that can exceed the cost of the retrofit many times over, depending on the level of finishes that will have to be re-designed and replaced;
- Contradiction with the existing and well-established practice of "grandfathered" structures, that are not required to be upgraded till they are modified;
- Absence of funding from the city and/or state and inability to arrange loans by HOAs, that are already leveraged due to the recent upgrades and assessments;
- Absence of proper qualified research, expertise, impact/total cost analysis and commonly acceptable justification for the proposed ordinance;
- Assured costly and lengthy litigations with the 1000s of residents and businesses adversely affected and harmed by the proposed ordinance;
- Lack of transparency, public outreach, input and inclusion in the decision making of the residents and other groups, adversely affected by the proposed ordinance, which undermines our confidence in the integrity, qualifications and professionalism of the responsible parties;
- Obscure, hypothetical benefits, that provide only marginal improvement on the building resistance to the structural failure or damage in a very narrow case of the hypothetical catastrophic earthquake with the epicentre in the immediate proximity of the building, which has a very small probability in itself;
- Absence of the factual research and calculations for the specific buildings and soil conditions under these buildings;
- Direct contradiction with the empirical evidence and historical data of the buildings that survived all earthquakes of the past 50 years with minimal, if any damage and didn’t have a single casualty or bodily harm from the earthquake in the history of these buildings.
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