SLO Baptist church gets retrofit extension

Springfield Baptist Church was given a year reprieve by the City Council on Tuesday to do seismic upgrades required by the city to make unreinforced masonry buildings safer during earthquakes.

The church building at 1127 Broad St. was given one of the highest hazard ratings because of the potential for loss of life.

To date the congregation has been unable to raise the money needed for the retrofit work, and the building is up for sale.

City council members Tuesday said they hoped that the time extension would give church leaders enough time to find a solution.

The developers of three large future projects: Garden Street Terraces, Chinatown and the Naman project were also given until 2015 to complete their permitting and construction.

When the San Simeon Earthquake struck in 2003, killing two women at an unreinforced masonry building in Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo’s deadline for retrofitting buildings was 2017.

After the quake, the city moved the deadline up to 2010, with some buildings allowed to finish in 2012.

Earthquake retrofitting is not intended to save buildings but to keep a building standing during an earthquake long enough to allow people to escape safely.

In 2007, the council decided that commercial property owners were moving too slowly to meet a 2010 retrofitting deadline, and it gave specific dates for completing certain buildings stretching from July 2007 to July 2010.

There are 30 buildings yet to be completed; there were 126 in the late 1990s.

The council ruled Tuesday that nine other private commercial building owners will be required to meet the July deadline or may face a penalty of up to $500 a day.

Efforts to make the required seismic upgrades are under way at all but one of those nine buildings. Mike Spangler, owner of the building at 664 Marsh St., told the council Tuesday that he doesn’t agree with the requirement but that he will do it only because he is being required to do so.

Reach AnnMarie Cornejo at 781-7939.