DOWNTOWN — The cities of Los Angeles and Santa Monica have approved more than a dozen construction projects over the past decade on or around two faults without seismic studies to find out whether the buildings could be destroyed in an earthquake.
The Los Angeles Times reports city officials could have done further work to determine whether a fault was under a development. Instead, they decided fault studies weren’t required because they relied on developers’ geology reports.
Los Angeles building records show that when projects were approved officials used outdated information that placed the Santa Monica and Hollywood faults much farther away from the construction.
State law prohibits construction atop faults and requires extensive studies. But the state has not created fault zones for the areas around the two faults.
In Santa Monica city officials approved construction of a Whole Foods, which opened in 2003, despite warnings from geologists that the market site on Wilshire Boulevard might sit on top of a fault, according to the Times.
The geologists recommended digging across the site to determine whether it is there. City building records show no evidence city officials followed their advice or ordered more investigation.
Ron Takiguchi, Santa Monica’s top building official, told the Times City Hall did not order fault investigations for any of the four projects identified by The Times. The city is diligent about examining earthquake risks and relies on experts in making its decisions, he said.
Marci Frumkin, a spokeswoman for Whole Foods Market, told the Times that the company rents the building and is aware of potential dangers.
“We know of the seismic risk and have done extensive retrofitting to the building,” she said. She did not provide details.
Building owner Dave Larner told the Times he does not believe the market is on top of the fault, adding: “The building was built to exceed or meet all specifications.”