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City says sixteen buildings still unreinforced

Two demolition permit applications turned into city thus far

MARTINEZ, Calif. – The deadline to retrofit unreinforced masonry (URM) buildings in Martinez has come and gone, and according to City officials, 16 properties stand in non-compliance of the Seismic Hazard Retrofit Ordinance.

The ordinance, passed in 2009, gave owners of properties on the City’s URM inventory list six years to comply. The original list contained 60 properties, 44 of which were retrofitted before the Aug. 15 deadline. Many of the 16 buildings yet to be reinforced are under construction, however, according to City Public Works Director Dave Scola, there are four properties that have not yet started the work.

“A couple have chosen to demolish their building,” Scola told the Martinez Tribune in an email Wednesday afternoon.

In a follow-up conversation, the Tribune learned the City currently has two demolition applications in hand – one for a building at 822 Escobar St. (across from Sal’s Family Kitchen), and the other for 615 Estudillo St. (the longtime building of the Martinez News-Gazette).

“No demolition permits have been issued yet, and unless someone is able to purchase either building and submit retrofit drawings quickly, I would think it is likely that both will be demolished,” Scola said.

He added that like all remaining retrofit projects, all work must be completed by Dec. 31, 2015.

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