L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti appeared in Van Nuys on Wednesday to urge passage of an Assembly bill providing tax credits for landlords who retrofit apartments and condo complexes deemed especially vulnerable to collapse in earthquakes.
The bill, AB 428, authored by Adrin Nazarian, D-Van Nuys, would provide a five-year, 30 percent state seismic tax credit for qualified retrofits to properties deemed at-risk of collapse in a major quake – such as the 1994 Northridge earthquake that killed 57 and caused property damage exceeding $20 billion.
“It’s not a question of if, but rather when the next big earthquake will hit Los Angeles,” said Mayor Garcetti in an appearance at Van Nuys City Hall. “Together with Assemblymember Nazarian, we’re taking action to shore up our buildings and better protect our city from the inevitable.”
The bill, backed by the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, is an element of a seismic safety plan that Garcetti recently created with the help of Lucy Jones, an earthquake expert with the U.S. Geological Survey.
The plan requires retrofitting of two types of vulnerable buildings built prior to 1980 when California strengthened its building codes to make concrete residential structures much better able to resist collapse in a quake.
Retrofits would be required within five years at “soft-first-story” wood-framed buildings and required within 25 years at “non-ductile reinforced concrete” buildings, many of which are apartment buildings and condominium complexes.
AB 428 would give property owners a financial incentive to make the seismic upgrades within the next five years at reduced cost. The tax credit would sunset on Dec. 1, 2021.
“We need to act decisively now to protect our state from senseless and preventable loss of life and property. To do nothing is simply criminal. On average, a dollar spent on hazard mitigation provides our community about $4 in future benefits,” said Nazarian, whose district includes communities from North Hollywood to Van Nuys.
L.A. Councilman Bob Blumenfield, whose 3rd Council District covers the southwest Valley, also appeared at the event.
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