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SLO gives church a reprieve on its earthquake retrofit deadline 

The San Luis Obispo City Council voted to grant the Springfield Baptist Church on Broad Street a four-year extension to meet city seismic retrofit regulations.

The council voted 3-2 to extend the reprieve until 2015. Councilmembers John Ashbaugh and Dan Carpenter voted against the amnesty because they said they couldn’t in good conscience allow a building deemed seismically unsafe to be used by the public.

The church has been actively installing seismic safety measures, but ran out of money to complete the retrofit, said pastor Henry Ford.

“We don’t know where we will go if we are forced out,” Ford told New Times before the meeting. “It’s in God’s hands.”

It turned out the church did have something on its side: a bar. The city has given SLO Brew a 2015 deadline to meet seismic regulations, and the downtown bar is housed in an unreinforced two-story brick building owned by Westpac Investments at 1119 Garden St.

The city rates the SLO Brew building as far more dangerous than the church. However, the SLO Brew building is set to one day be part of the Garden Street Terrace development.

Councilman Andrew Carter said he couldn’t put a church congregation that uses the building only twice a week on the street while allowing a commercial building packed with customers every night a several-year reprieve.

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