Chapter 14.24
REVIEW, REHABILITATION AND ABATEMENT OF EXISTING SEISMICALLY UNSAFE BUILDINGS

Sections:

14.24.005    Findings.

14.24.010    Purpose, scope and application.

14.24.020    Definitions.

14.24.030    Preliminary building department review.

14.24.040    Notice to owner.

14.24.050    Property owner review.

14.24.060    Upgrading design – Requirements for continued use of structure.

14.24.070    Information required on plans.

14.24.080    Implementation schedule and time extensions.

14.24.090    Notification of tenants.

14.24.100    Abatement – Rehabilitation or demolition.

14.24.110    Appeals.

14.24.120    Violation – Penalty.

14.24.130    Severability.

14.24.005 Findings.

The city council finds that in order to best protect the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Sonoma, seismic upgrading regulations adopted pursuant to the authority provided in California Health and Safety Code Sections 19161 and 19162 should be adopted to reduce the risk of death or injury resulting from earthquake hazards in existing masonry wall or concrete wall buildings in an economically feasible manner, while preserving the historic character of the community. (Ord. 07-2016 § 1, 2016; Ord. 08-2010 § 1, 2010).

14.24.010 Purpose, scope and application.

A. Purpose. The city has experienced and will continue to experience moderate to great earthquakes in the future due to its proximity to the Rodgers Creek, Hayward, San Andreas and other earthquake faults. Many buildings subject to severe earthquake hazards continue to be a serious threat to the life and safety of people who live and work in the community in the event of an earthquake. The primary goal of this chapter is to provide construction regulations designed to reduce the risk of death or injury resulting from earthquake hazards in existing masonry or concrete buildings in an economically feasible manner, while preserving the historic character of the community.

B. Scope. This chapter provides procedures for the systematic review and reconstruction of existing masonry and concrete wall buildings within the city to improve their safety in the event of an earthquake.

1. This chapter shall apply to:

a. All buildings or portions of buildings constructed with unreinforced masonry walls;

b. The diaphragms and connections of diaphragms of all buildings constructed of concrete or reinforced masonry walls constructed or being constructed prior to September 24, 1973. Required seismic upgrading of concrete and reinforced masonry buildings may be limited to the review, analysis, design, and upgrading of the diaphragms and diaphragm connections of the building pursuant to SMC 14.24.060(D).

2. The requirements of this chapter shall not apply to:

a. Public schools;

b. Hospitals;

c. State-owned buildings;

d. Detached one- and two-family dwellings.

This chapter does not require alteration of existing electrical, plumbing or mechanical systems unless such conditions or defects exist to the extent that the life, health, property or safety of the public or its occupants are endangered.

C. Application to Qualified Historical Buildings or Properties. Qualified historical buildings or properties shall be upgraded in accordance with the California Historical Building Code and applicable sections of the regular code. The design and upgrading provisions of the regular code may be used in conjunction with the California Historical Building Code as a method of complying with the minimum requirements of this chapter. (Ord. 07-2016 § 1, 2016; Ord. 08-2010 § 2, 2010; Ord. 97-8, 1997).

14.24.020 Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, certain terms, phrases, words and their derivatives shall be construed as specified in this section or as otherwise specified in the applicable sections of the California Building Code, the California Existing Building Code, the California Fire Code, the Sonoma Municipal Code and the California Historical Building Code and their appendices thereto, where applicable and as adopted by the city council. Where terms are not defined, they shall have their ordinary accepted meanings within the context with which they are used. Where definitions vary or conflict, the building official shall determine which definition applies.

A. “Architect” means a person who is licensed to practice architecture in this state.

B. “Qualified historical building or property” shall have the same meaning as defined in the California Historical Building Code.

C. “Engineer” as used in this chapter means any professional, civil or structural engineer who is licensed or registered to practice engineering in this state.

D. “Regular code” shall have the same meaning as defined in the California Historical Building Code.

E. “Upgrading” means all work necessary to comply with the requirements of this chapter.

F. “Unreinforced masonry building” means any building or structure containing walls constructed wholly or partly with unreinforced masonry walls.

G. “Unreinforced masonry wall” shall have the same meaning as defined in Appendix Chapter A1 of the California Existing Building Code. (Ord. 07-2016 § 1, 2016; Ord. 08-2010 § 3, 2010; Ord. 97-8, 1997).

14.24.030 Preliminary building department review.

Buildings within the scope of this chapter constructed or being constructed prior to September 24, 1973, shall be subject to a preliminary review by the building official to determine the general structural characteristics, the relative safety of the building, and its general compliance with the structural requirements of the California Existing Building Code, as adopted and amended by the city council. If the structure is determined to so comply with the minimum requirements, it shall be exempt from the requirements of this chapter. If the building official determines that the structure does not comply, the property owner shall cause the building to be further reviewed in accordance with the provisions of SMC 14.24.050.

A. The scope of the preliminary review by the building official or his authorized representative may include, but shall not be limited to, the following:

1. Location by street address and assessor’s parcel number;

2. Type of occupancy and approximate square footage;

3. Type of construction and foundations, and type of material used in construction (where observable);

4. Approximate age of construction; photos of the building exterior; construction drawings (if available);

5. Quality of maintenance, cracks and cleanliness; evidence of leaks, foundation settlement, sagging floors or rusting metal and rotting wood; general deterioration of any other building material used (where observable);

6. Building type and occupancy classification of the structure pursuant to the California Building Code;

7. General adequacy of exiting system;

8. Type and adequacy of wall and parapet anchorage (where observable);

9. Type and likely adequacy of horizontal diaphragms and wall bracing (where observable);

10. Type of interior partitions (where observable).

B. For the purpose of determining compliance with this chapter, the building official may rely on the information provided in subsections (A)(1) through (10) of this section and shall not be required to provide extensive tests in connection with the preliminary review. (Ord. 07-2016 § 1, 2016; Ord. 08-2010 § 4, 2010; Ord. 97-8, 1997).

14.24.040 Notice to owner.

A. Notice to Correct Deficiencies. For each building found to not be in compliance with the requirements of SMC 14.24.060, the building official shall prepare a notice to owner to correct deficiencies. The notice to correct deficiencies shall include the following:

1. A statement to the effect that the structure has been reviewed and appears to be of the type which is prone to significant damage, including collapse, in a moderate to major earthquake;

2. The determination of noncompliance with the requirements of SMC 14.24.060;

3. Where applicable, the findings on which the determination that the building or structure does not comply is based;

4. The time schedule for abatement must be commenced and completed;

5. A statement that the property owner shall cause the structure to be further reviewed as provided in SMC 14.24.050;

6. A statement that the owner is required to provide a copy of the notice to correct deficiencies to the tenant or tenants of the structure in accordance with SMC 14.24.090.

B. Recordation. At the time that the aforementioned notice is served, the building official may file with the office of the county recorder a certificate stating that the subject building is within the scope of this chapter. The certificate shall also state that the owner thereof has been ordered to review, analyze and upgrade the building in accordance with this chapter. (Ord. 07-2016 § 1, 2016; Ord. 97-8, 1997).

14.24.050 Property owner review.

Upon notice by the building official to the property owner to correct deficiencies, the property owner shall require an engineer or architect to review and prepare an upgrading design for the subject building or structure within the time limits set forth in SMC 14.24.080. (Ord. 07-2016 § 1, 2016; Ord. 08-2010 § 5, 2010; Ord. 97-8, 1997).

14.24.060 Upgrading design – Requirements for continued use of structure.

A. The required upgrading design shall be prepared by a California registered architect, structural engineer or civil engineer specializing in structural work and shall be designed in accordance with the provisions of the California Existing Building Code, including Appendix Chapter A1 or, if applicable, the California Historical Building Code as adopted by the city;

B. Compliance is required with the fire and exiting requirements of the California Existing Building Code, the California Fire Code and, where applicable, the California Historical Building Code as such codes are amended and adopted by the city council. Requirements concerning egress, corridors, enclosed stairways, fire sprinkler systems, fire separations, fire protection and panic hardware shall be addressed. Alternative methods of fire protection, including but not limited to fire sprinkler systems and smoke detection systems, may be approved by the fire marshal and the building official;

C. Existing electrical, plumbing, mechanical and other elements or nonstructural portions of the building which are found by the fire marshal or the building official to be dangerous to the extent that the life, health, property or safety of the public or its occupants are endangered shall be upgraded or removed in accordance with the regular code.

D. Chords, horizontal diaphragms, connections of existing diaphragms to vertical elements and connection of collectors to existing diaphragms and new or existing vertical elements in structures shall be provided in accordance with the regular code. (Ord. 07-2016 § 1, 2016; Ord. 08-2010 § 6, 2010; Ord. 97-8, 1997).

14.24.070 Information required on plans.

The review and upgrading design prepared by the engineer or architect shall be submitted to the building official and shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

A. Location by street address and assessor’s parcel number;

B. Type of occupancy, use of the building and accurate dimensions;

C. Type of construction, type of foundation, and material used in construction. Field and laboratory tests as determined necessary by the building official, the architect or the engineer shall include but not be limited to the drilling of inspection holes, the determination of the strength and quality of materials, and a general description of how these materials are integrated within the structure;

D. Comprehensive review of the adequacy and performance of the foundation;

E. Complete vertical load resume, analysis or estimate based on typical bays and details of all critical areas;

F. Investigation, review, analysis and rehabilitation design for building elements including, but not limited to, the following:

1. The ability of the unreinforced masonry walls to resist normal and in-plane seismic forces;

2. The anchorage and stability of exterior parapets and ornamentation;

3. The anchorage of unreinforced masonry, reinforced masonry and reinforced concrete walls to the floors and roof diaphragm;

4. The development of a complete bracing system to resist earthquake forces;

5. The examination for adequacy of mortar, masonry, walls, parapets, diaphragms, shear walls, bracing, ornamentation, ceilings, lights, stairs, interior partitions, diaphragm chords, ties and connections for a complete and adequate load path;

G. Verification of elements of preliminary building department review;

H. Such plans or sketches, as necessary, to describe building strengths and deficiencies;

I. Such other information or testing as required by the architect, engineer or building official;

J. Calculations, plans and specifications to show compliance with the requirements of this chapter;

K. Exceptions and/or alternatives to the specific items required by this subsection may be authorized by the building official upon review of a written request from the engineer or architect. Exceptions may only be granted when it can be demonstrated that the specific item or items are unnecessary to provide information available by other equivalent means;

L. Archaeological report and recommendations shall be provided by the owner when determined necessary by the building official or city planner due to proposed significant excavations on known sites of historic significance. (Ord. 07-2016 § 1, 2016; Ord. 97-8, 1997).

14.24.080 Implementation schedule and time extensions.

A. Implementation Schedule.

1. An upgrading design prepared by an engineer or architect must be submitted to the building official for approval within two years of the date of the notice to owner to correct deficiencies.

2. Complete upgrading shall be completed within five years of the date of the notice to owner to correct deficiencies unless otherwise specified in a previously recorded notice to owner to correct deficiencies.

B. Time Extensions.

1. When it is demonstrated that legitimate circumstances have prevented the work described herein from being performed, the building official may extend the time required for preparation of upgrading design or completion of required upgrading work for a period of up to one year. Said circumstances and a commitment to complete the required work by a specified date shall be provided in writing to the building official by the owner prior to granting of any extension.

2. In addition to the time extension provided in subsection (B)(1) of this section, any person having record title, equitable or legal interest in the subject building may request, before the city council, an extension of the time limits set forth herein. The city council may, at its sole discretion, extend the time required for preparation of upgrading design or completion of required upgrading work for any period deemed reasonable provided the following conditions are first met:

a. The circumstances dictating the need for a time extension and a commitment to complete the required work by a specified date shall be provided in writing to the city council by the owner.

b. The property owner shall agree in writing to immediately vacate the building without further notice or administrative appeal on the day following the extended required completion date, unless final inspection approval of all required upgrading work has otherwise been granted by the building department. (Ord. 07-2016 § 1, 2016; Ord. 99-3 § 2, 1999; Ord. 99-1 § 2, 1999).

14.24.090 Notification of tenants.

Upon receipt of notice to correct deficiencies, the building owner shall notify all current and subsequent tenants, in writing, that a review of the building has been performed and that said building may be structurally hazardous in the event of an earthquake. (Ord. 07-2016 § 1, 2016; Ord. 97-8, 1997).

14.24.100 Abatement – Rehabilitation or demolition.

Buildings subject to the requirements of this chapter that do not meet the requirements of this chapter shall be abated by rehabilitation, repair or demolition in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

A. Rehabilitation. Qualified historical structures or properties, when rehabilitated, remodeled, repaired or upgraded, shall comply with the provisions of the California Historical Building Code. All other rehabilitated, remodeled, repaired or upgraded buildings shall meet or exceed the requirements of SMC 14.24.060 and the regular codes together with their adopted appendices where applicable and as adopted by the city council.

B. Demolition. Buildings subject to the requirements of this chapter which do not meet the requirements of this chapter may be abated by demolition. Owners of buildings located within the historic overlay district must receive approval from the design review and historic preservation commission prior to obtaining a demolition permit to demolish the structure. Prior to obtaining a demolition permit for the demolition of a qualified historical building or property, the proposed building demolition shall be reviewed by the city’s environmental review committee and shall comply with the guidelines of the California Environmental Quality Act and the requirements of this chapter.

C. Structures or portions thereof, hazards and dangerous conditions subject to the requirements of this chapter which are not abated within the time limits set forth in SMC 14.24.080 shall be considered a public nuisance and an unsafe building and shall be vacated and/or abated in accordance with the provisions of SMC 14.10.010 and/or Chapter 14.30 SMC, as determined to be applicable by the building official. In addition to any other remedy provided herein, the city council may cause any building not abated within the time limits set forth in SMC 14.24.080 to be vacated, strengthened, repaired, rehabilitated, remodeled, demolished or upgraded in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and place a special assessment on the property for all costs incurred in accordance with the provisions of SMC 14.10.010 and/or Chapter 14.30 SMC. (Ord. 07-2016 § 1, 2016; Ord. 06-2013 § 3, 2013; amended during June 2011 supplement; Ord. 08-2010 § 7, 2010; Ord. 97-8, 1997).

14.24.110 Appeals.

Appeals of orders, decisions or determinations made by the building official in carrying out the provisions of this chapter shall be made and filed in accordance with Chapter 1.24 SMC. Appeals of orders, decisions or determinations made by the building official in carrying out the provisions of the regular codes shall be made and filed in accordance with the appeal requirements of SMC 14.10.010 (Administrative provisions). Appeals of orders, decisions or determinations made by the building official in carrying out the provisions of the California Historical Building Code shall be made and filed in accordance with the appeal requirements of the California Historical Building Code. (Ord. 07-2016 § 1, 2016; Ord. 97-8, 1997).

14.24.120 Violation – Penalty.

Any person, firm or corporation who violates a provision of this chapter, or fails to comply with any of the requirements thereof, or allows a violation to continue without taking reasonable means to cure or abate the same after having been ordered to do so, or who erects, constructs, alters or repairs a building or structure in violation of the approved construction documents or directive of the building official, or of a permit or certificate issued under the provisions of this chapter, is punishable as provided by SMC 1.12.010. Each violation shall constitute a separate offense for each and every day such person, firm or corporation violates or allows a violation to continue without taking reasonable means to cure or abate the same after having been ordered to do so. A violation of this section or any other section of this chapter shall be deemed a public nuisance and is subject to nuisance abatement proceedings as provided by SMC 1.12.010. (Ord. 07-2016 § 1, 2016; Ord. 08-2010 § 8, 2010; Ord. 97-8, 1997).

14.24.130 Severability.

If any section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase or word of this chapter is for any reason held to be invalid and/or unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this chapter. The city council hereby declares that it would have passed and adopted this chapter and each of the provisions thereof irrespective of the fact that any one or more of said provisions be declared invalid and/or unconstitutional. (Ord. 07-2016 § 1, 2016; Ord. 97-8, 1997).