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Santa Clarita / Antelope Valley : Half of Repairs Finished or Underway : Earthquake: The most common permit requests are to reconstruct chimneys and block walls. The busy Valencia Library reopens Thursday. .


SANTA CLARITA — Repairs are complete or ongoing on slightly more than half of the structures damaged here in the Northridge earthquake, city building officials announced Monday.

Residents have requested about 6,000 permits for work ranging from puttying small cracks to elevating a home to lay a new foundation, said Dick Kopecky, deputy building official for Santa Clarita's Earthquake Recovery Unit.

"I think it has gone along rapidly," Kopecky said. "It just seems like in this area people are getting things repaired to get back to normal."

Santa Clarita engineers have identified about 11,000 structures that suffered damage from the Jan. 17 quake. While statistics suggest that about 45% of the damaged buildings apparently are not undergoing repairs, officials believe some work has been completed without permits, even though the city waived all fees for earthquake-related repairs.

"Either their work does not require a permit or they have not started repairs or are doing work without permits," said Gail Foy, city public information officer.

The most common permit requests are to reconstruct chimneys and block walls.

"In a lot of cases, they weren't attached well to the structure, and they pulled away from the house," said Kopecky. "Others were cracked and broken, even though they were securely attached."

Although almost 10 months have passed since the earthquake, additional permit requests are expected as residents begin to receive insurance or federal grant money.

"A lot depends on the insurance. A lot depends on the cash flow of the owner," said Kopecky. "We're seeing more of the major kinds of repairs coming in now."

Meanwhile, the quake-damaged Valencia Library, the busiest of the 87 Los Angeles County branches before Jan. 17, reopens Thursday with new offerings on its shelves.

They replace some of the estimated 38,750 books, periodicals and other material destroyed when shaking ruptured the building's water pipes.

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