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San Francisco Soft-Story Property Owners Get Earthquake-Retrofit Warnings

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — San Francisco city officials are reminding property owners, nearly 25 years after the Loma Prieta earthquake,that seismic upgrades are required.

San Francisco Soft-Story Properties Get Earthquake-Retrofit Warnings

Many of the buildings damaged or destroyed during the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake—a large amount in the Marina District—had hardwood-framed garages under the apartments. Last year, the city passed an ordinance requiring that property owners, who have not earthquake retrofitted their soft-story buildings, must begin the process.

Soft-story building are those with large openings on the ground floor, like garage doors or picture windows, built before 1978.

About 6,500 notices were sent out and while most people responded, 380 have not. On Tuesday, Tom Huey, the city's building inspections director, was placing warning notices in some of those doorways.

Huey said he was in the Marina during the Loma Prieta earthquake and remembers the damage to those buildings.

"The majority of those building came down because ground floor, they opened it for the garage, and the seismic strength is not there," he said. "This program is not seismically strengthening—retrofitting—the whole building. It's only the ground floor."

Property owners, who begin the process of applying with the city, will have up to three to six years to complete the work, which can cost between $60,000 and $100,000.

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