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How to Safely Maintain L.A.'s Historic Buildings

July 14, 2002

"Builder Got Break on Safety Rules" (July 7) unfortunately misconstrues a key tool for preserving, rehabilitating and reusing Los Angeles' historic buildings. Flexibility in building and fire code interpretation is critical for historic structures and can be achieved while maintaining a high standard of safety. If current building and fire codes (which are designed for new construction) are strictly applied in the rehabilitation of an existing building, it often means the loss of historic character. Or worse yet, it means that historic buildings are not rehabilitated and sit vacant and deteriorating.

Flexibility in code interpretation does not mean that safety is disregarded; rather, it means that alternative measures are used to achieve the same standard of safety as well as preservation of historic features. The adaptive reuse ordinance embodies this approach and, in so doing, has become the city's most effective incentive for preserving Los Angeles' cultural resources.

Amy N. Anderson

Broadway Initiative Coordinator

Los Angeles Conservancy

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