Panoramic Hill Association

New Earthquake Hazard Maps

Prelininary Maps are Available for Public Inspection

Preliminary Seismic Hazard Zone maps covering Berkeley, Albany, Alameda, Emeryville, Oakland, San Leandro and other East Bay communities, were released on August 14th by the California Geological Survey for technical review and comment. The maps are regulatory zones that identify areas prone to liquefaction (failure of water-saturated soil) and earthquake-induced landslides. Seismic Hazard Zone Maps do not predict a level or degree of damage -- they represent zones requiring further geological investigation.

The preliminary map will be available for a 90-day public review and comment period, followed by a 90-day period for review and possible revisions by the State Geologist. The Official Map will supercede all prior versions of preliminary hazards maps that exist at the time of its release, which is scheduled for February 14th, 2003.

The Seismic Hazards Mapping Act of 1990 establishes a regulatory mechanism for cities and counties to improve the seismic resiliency of new construction. After official adoption, the Act requires local governments to determine whether proposed construction lies in potentially hazardous areas, and to decide whether further investigations must be done at the
owner/developer's expense.

Once the maps are adopted, cities and counties are required to submit one copy of approved geotechnical reports, including any mitigation measures, to the State Geologist within 30 days of the report's approval. Property owners must disclose if a property is in a zone upon sale. The maps are also intended to encourage cities and counties to adequately prepare the safety element of their general plans and to promote land use management policies and regulations to reduce and mitigate those hazards to protect public health and safety.

City Manager Weldon Rucker states: "The State's mapping program, along with Disaster Resistant Berkeley activities, takes the City of Berkeley's earthquake safety program to the next level."

The maps will be on display for public viewing at the City's Permit Service Center, located at 2120 Milvia Street, and at the Main Library, located at 2090 Kittredge. The California Geological Survey will have the maps posted on their web site at for viewing and download as well.

Berkeley has been cited by state and federal officials as one of California's model communities for earthquake safety. Many city programs have been established to help homeowners retrofit their buildings over the last 12 years. These measures have led to safety improvements in over 40% of single-family dwellings. Berkeley has also rebuilt all of its public schools, fire stations and its Civic Center Building so they are resistant to earthquake forces.

For more information on these safety initiatives, call 981-CITY and ask about the Disaster Resistant Berkeley program.

Posted by robot on 08/27/2002
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