Assemblymember Lowenthal Authored Resolution Targets Illegal Garage Conversions

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ACR 32 (Lowenthal) was sponsored by the City of Long Beach after the full City Council approved an item brought forth by Councilmember Dee Andrews, Vice Mayor Robert Garcia, Councilmember James Johnson and Councilmember Steven Neal on December 14, 2010 to bring awareness to the dangers of illegal garage conversions. Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal authored the State Resolution, and it was signed by Governor Jerry Brown earlier this year to urge all local governments in California to recognize building and safety codes that regulate illegal garage conversions as the “Aviles Law.”

“Illegal garage conversions will not be tolerated in the City of Long Beach,” says Mayor Bob Foster. “This resolution serves as a reminder to all of us, that residential homes and businesses across California must follow established building and safety codes to protect the people who inhabit and work in these buildings.”

Despite established building and safety codes, the City of Long Beach experienced a tragedy on December 14, 2007 with the loss of Jasmine Aviles, Jocelyn Aviles, and Stephanie Aviles to a fire inside an illegally converted garage. Since that incident, Long Beach has aggressively pursued and required landlords to abate over 640 illegally converted garages in the City.

In memory of the sisters, and to educate the public and reinforce the dangers of illegal garage conversions, the Long Beach City Council voted to rename the City’s municipal codes relating to the abatement of illegal garage conversion the “Aviles Law” in April 2011. Compelled to prevent this tragedy from occurring again in any other city, the Long Beach City Council voted unanimously to sponsor a State resolution to bring awareness to the issue statewide.

“The tragedy of the Aviles sisters occurred in Long Beach, but it could have happened anywhere where there is an illegally converted garage,” said Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach. “As a policy maker and as a mother, it was important to me to author this resolution and bring statewide attention to a growing public safety problem.”

ACR 32 supported by the California Metropolitan Fire Chiefs.

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