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Loans, Ordinance to Aid Fire Victims

February 02, 1989|ELIZABETH LU | Times Staff Writer

Low-interest federal loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration are being made available to Baldwin Park residents who lost homes or businesses in a December firestorm, City Manager Ralph Webb said.

In a related development, the City Council has adopted an ordinance exempting homeowners whose property was damaged in the fire from having to install curbs, gutters and other street improvements before obtaining permits to repair or rebuild their homes.

The disaster loans, at 4% to 8% interest, may be used by homeowners, tenants and business owners to replace or repair uninsured or under-insured structures. Homeowners may apply for loans up to $100,000 to replace real property, and up to $20,000 to replace personal belongings. Tenants are restricted to seeking loans to replace personal belongings. Business owners may qualify for loans of up to $500,000 to repair or replace buildings, machinery and inventory.

For more information, contact federal loan officers, who will hold meetings at Morgan Park Community building today and Friday. The telephone number at the assistance center is (818) 338-1005.

Free transportation to the assistance center will be provided by Dial-A-Ride, (818) 962-1034.

The City Council ordinance amends a city code that states that if work to be performed under a construction permit exceeds $5,000, a property owner must make street improvements or deposit in a city account enough money to pay for the improvements in the future.

Many homeowners whose houses were damaged or destroyed in the December firestorm learned that their home insurance policies do not cover the cost of the street improvements, said Eli Roca, a resident who has been helping fire victims.

Without the exemption, many victims were unable to obtain construction permits needed to rebuild their homes, he said.

In addition to exempting homeowners who must rebuild after fire and other disasters, the ordinance exempts cases in which construction of street improvements would not be of any use to residents, or impractical until the city decides to form an assessment district to install such improvements.

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