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What did we learn from the SF voluntary soft story ordinance – Voluntary programs don’t work!

According to the city records almost a year after San Francisco passed a voluntary program to encourage property owners to retrofit their soft-story building, only 26 owners out of estimated 25,000 potential soft story buildings in San Francisco have taken advantage of the breaks in plan review and permit fees the city has offered in return. This is not surprising. While these breaks can amount to hundreds, possibly even thousands of dollars depending on the size of the projects, they are dwarfed by the costs of the actual strengthening.

In the past, the city leader tried to pass the mandatory ordinance.  However, the plans were put on the back burner when the funding ideas didn’t pan out.  But it looks like they are trying to give it another go.  At a soft-story hearing last month, Supervisor Scott Wiener admitted the failure of the voluntary program and supported the idea of a mandate.

Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/2011/04/fewer-participating-soft-story-retrofit-program#ixzz1LLEpUVLk

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