California reinstituted an ambitious plan to study dangerous earthquake faults and create zoning maps that could restrict development. In July, the California Geological Survey began to zone the Santa Monica fault, which is among 2,000 miles of fault lines statewide that still need to be mapped.
California drastically reduced these mapping efforts over the past 20 years because of budget cuts. Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed off on $1.49 million in new funding and $1.3 million in annual dedicated funding to be paid for with increased building permit fees.
Without the maps, many communities have limited information on the location of faults, and whether they might impact new development. More than a dozen properties were approved for construction on or near the Hollywood and Santa Monica faults over the last decade without in-depth studies that would have been required had the state zoned those faults, according to the Los Angeles Times. Both faults could cause major temblors.
Building permit fees were increased by about 30% to fund the mapping project.