Section 7 CPRA requests on Old projects

I saw a Notice of Public Hearing posted at Rio Hondo and Valley. This usually means that a proposal is to come before the planning commission for a project on that site. One thing the planning commission has to determine is if the proposed project is "feasable".

The Seismic Hazards Mapping Act requires a study for Liquefaction "Prior to the Approval of a Project" (not aproval by the planning commission but by the City Council when it grants entitlements). We do hope that Planning would screen for obvious ommissions such as missing SHMA reports.

On thing an applicant is required to do is to survey nearby projects for anything relating to the new project. SHMA requirements are more easily fulfilled if nearby projects have SHMA reports.

Thursday I asked the City for copies of any SHMA reports for nearby projects. We know that Bank of the West just did a fine one.

It will be interesting if Wildan can come up with SHMA reports for the Quality Inn and I-Hop and a couple of other projects constructed since SHMA and the upgraded 1998 Building Code went into effect in 1998.

Do'nt hold your breath. I had previously repeatedly asked for these reports since November 2005. For Flournoy vs Rosemead we deferred on these completed projects to concentrate on projects then currently under construction.

The City's fine legal team as not indicated to me if they obtained any reports from this time period. It's time now to produce them or to admit that they do not exist so our projets can "chin up" and get on with it

New projects in Rosemead will endure extra expense and delay because Jay, Maggie, and Gary did not provide the leadership necessary to ensure safe projects and adequate records in Rosemead.

Jay, Maggie, and Gary could have instructed Wildan and their City Attorney, Peter Wallin, to get to the bottom of this systymetic non-compliance in 2005-2006 when it was uncovered.

The non-compliance is now a part of the public record however the current round of legal fees properly go back to Jay, Maggie and Gary.

very pennywise yet pound foolish me-thinks

Liquefaction Studies- What's required

Liquefaction studies has been long covered by the building code.
A "survey" is required when
High groundwater
liquefiable soils
strong earth shaking

Strong Earthshaking is possible anywhere in Rosemead. The Architect or engineer would consult the HISTORIC HIGH groundwater map and a Geology map to see if a study was required.

So many projects were falling through the cracks that the Seismic Hazards Mapping Act was enacted, taking effect in Rosemead in 1998.

With the Code Survey method one 2" boring would be made to 50 feet or deeper if there was a basement and the core evaluated and penetration determined. This is a SPT or Standard Penetration tEst.

Lots of other rules such as found in the Los Angeles County Manual for the Preparation of Geotechnical Reports.

There are guidelines on how many borings per acre or per building and special rules if driven piles are involved.

Bottom line is that with the Code survey method if any excessive settlement (liquefaction) is found a full study is then required.
"Characterization of the subgrade" is required. This involves analysis of all the layers under the project. And to get strata (to define a plane) three boorings are required.

Bringing the drill rig back out is expensive so it is best to be prepared to complete the drill program with one visit.

A caveat is that you can use neighboring drillings from previous projects if the reports are available.

This is where the gotcha is.

Our building official was allowing one booring (if he looked at all) eventhough there were no nearby studies to reference. Even when settlement was found as it was in the recent projects.

Strike One- inadequate characterization of the subsurface. (Not enough- deep enough holes, no useable core samples, wrong equiptment)

Strike Two- not drilling deep enough (projects with basements, projects with multiple buildings, large projects)

Stike Three
Not using the ground motions required by the Code. (Ommision of the Puente Hills Thrust -source of the 1987 Whittier Earthquake and not using long period ground motion from San Andreas and more)

Strike Four
Using obsolete/ superceeded technical methodologies

Details are in the City's 2008 reviews of the reports of the projects.
These are the reviews which have yet to be responded to.

That's the BAD NEWS

The good news is that the Special Counsel had a Geologist employed by him run an additional test which, while not conclusive, allowed me not to Serve Process on the three projects thus avoiding a lot of additional legal fees. They got off easy.
I do expect them to respond to the City ASAP.

The additional test was to take the ONE sample available and test it with adequate local ground motion and current methodology.

I expect a statement from the projects structural engineer that the building design can accomidate the espected settlement.

With only one Sample we cannot explore "differential settlement"

Also strong long period/ long duration ground motion from the San Andreas Fault was not evaluated. In other words there could be more settlement than found using shaking from local faults.