Local : Ask TBC

Sunday, Aug 19 2012 01:00 AM

In its retrospective of the big 1952 Kern County earthquakes, The Californian said there still are unreinforced masonry buildings in town. How many are there and what are they being used for, if anything? --A reader

By The Bakersfield Californian

There are 21 buildings scattered throughout the city that have yet to be reinforced, according to city records. The records were last updated in 2010. More than half of the buildings are in Old Town Kern. Some appear to be vacant, though it is unclear whether they've been abandoned. Of the ones that are occupied, they range from a mini mart to a party supplies store to an auto body shop to a bar to a Union Pacific communications center. The buildings bear stickers that say they are unreinforced masonry buildings and may not be safe in the event of a strong earthquake. Those stickers are mandated by the city for all buildings that have not been retrofitted to be reinforced for earthquake safety. The rule was put in place in 1998. It was changed from the original 1993 ordinance that required owners to retrofit their buildings after the owners complained of the cumbersome costs. Money seems to be the unifying factor in why owners opt for the sticker instead of retrofitting.

according to city records

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