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Napa businesses, homeowners frustrated about being kept out of structurally sound buildings

Homeowners and businesses are also complaining that they're being kept away, not because their buildings are unsafe, but because getting inside can be dangerous.
Some business owners in downtown Napa say they're losing money because their shops are red-tagged even though they didn't suffer damage in last Sunday's 6.0 earthquake. Homeowners are also complaining that they're being kept away, not because their buildings are unsafe, but because getting there can be dangerous.

Velo Pizza in Napa, doesn't look at all like it just went through a huge earthquake. But a red-tag is posted on the outside of the building, meaning no one can go inside.

"It's very frustrating and it makes you angry the uncertainty of not being open is obviously bad for me, but bad for my employees," Velo Pizza co-owner Dan Sarao said.

The problem is the building behind Velo Pizza is a mess is not structurally sound.

If it falls, it could fall on the pizza place, so authorities red-tagged it along with other restaurants on Main Street, even though the buildings are fine. The building owner just spent $300,000retrofitting this building and it's been red-tagged.

"The frustration is the person who owns the building behind us refused to retrofit his building," Sarao said. "Doesn't think he needs to."

This same problem is happening in residential neighborhoods, too. The homes on Oak Street are fine, but a Victorian house keeps slipping and was red-tagged. When the owner ignored the red tag yesterday and went inside it fell some more. The next door neighbors have now been red-tagged and had to move out-in case the Victorian crumbles.

"Our house is very strong sturdy," Napa resident Gigi Kushman said.

The people in the sturdy buildings now can't say enough about the importance of doing the retrofit work, especially since it impacts those around you.

"It's expensive and it's painful," Sarao said. "I didn't like it. I complained for six months we were behind and it was costing me money. I'm not complaining about the retrofit now. It was a good thing."

Red-tagged means the structure of a building is damaged and the property is considered unsafe to enter and it shouldn't be entered under any circumstances.

Yellow-tagged properties usually have damage inside the home, but not to the structure itself.

Residents can go in to gather belongings or clean.. But are not advised to stay there, until officials say it's okay to do so.
Related Topics:
news earthquake prepare norcal unstable building destroyed homes destroyed businesses insurance disaster state of emergency Napa American Canyon
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