Hollywood Earthquake Fault: Why Residents Should Care
|Courtesy L.A. Department of Planning|
|Blvd6200 is likely to fall under an Alquist-Priolo Earthquake Fault Zone, or zone of mandatory geological investigation, when the state finishes mapping the Hollywood Fault.|
"The Department of Building and Safety's geologist felt that project was far enough away that it would not require a surface rupture study," says Luke Zamperini, Building and Safety spokesman.
Zamperini says officials relied on the 2010 Fault Activity Map of California, created by the California Geological Survey, to judge Blvd6200's project site distance from the Hollywood Fault.
"The northern edge of [Blvd6200] is at least 500 or 600 feet away from where we think the fault trace is," says Zamperini.
That's not solid science. The 2010 state map they used to come up with those distance estimates is a vague locator map of fault traces, and was never intended to be detailed enough to zoom in to street level to locate real fault lines, says State Geologist Parrish's spokesman Don Drysdale.
(Click on the 2010 California Fault Activity map, below, to see how far you can zoom in on black lines indicating the Hollywood Fault.)
Drysdale says cities cannot use the 2010 map to decide the distance between a project and a fault for good reason: the map's scale is 1 inch to 12 miles, which is too large-scale.
Regulatory maps used by geologists to show an actual fault location apply a scale of 1 inch to 2,000 feet.
But Building and Safety -- using the 1 inch/12 miles map -- deemed Blvd6200 to be at least 500 feet from the fault. And since the department requires developers to perform fault studies only if a project "falls within 500 feet each direction" of an earthquake fault, Zamperini says, no seismic study was needed.
Ed Johnson, spokesman for L.A. City Council President Herb Wesson, declined comment on the City Council approvals of Blvd6200 and the Millennium towers, saying that Hollywood developments are "not an issue in our district." Wesson's council district includes Mid-City, Koreatown, Leimert Park and other areas.
In July, Parrish wrote a letter to Wesson and the City Council, warning them that they "must withhold development permits" until geological investigations prove that proposed projects are safe from earthquake faults. A few days later, the City Council approved the Millennium skyscrapers in concept, but has yet to issue permits.
Next, find out why the State of California is stepping in: