By Angela Musallam

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Old Sacramento has been one of the city’s top tourist attractions for decades, but an unsightly development has popped up over the past few months.

In August, a city employee discovered one of the buildings had structural problems.

That led the city’s code enforcement to find additional buildings with similar issues.

“The scaffolding is providing support to the balcony to ensure that it doesn’t fall,” said Carl Simpson, the city’s code and housing development chief.

It’s a safety hazard that has gone unnoticed for months, until a city staff member discovered a problem with one of the buildings on 2nd Street about two months ago.

“The structural issues had to deal with dry rot on the awning,” Simpson added.

That prompted the city’s code enforcement to inspect the outside of every building in Old Sacramento. They found two other buildings with dry rot and structural deficiencies.

The city then requested the buildings’ property owners to install scaffolding.

Jennifer Twigg and her family spent the afternoon in Old Sacramento on Thursday. They say they were alarmed to hear why the scaffolding was put up.

“It looks pretty dangerous,” Twigg said.

CBS13 asked the city why it took until August to discover the structural problems.

“There is no proactive policy in place that requires us to inspect buildings on a periodic basis,” Simpson said.

He says building inspections, at least in Old Sacramento, are complaint-driven.

According to officials with Old Sacramento’s district office, the property owners are part of the problem. Many of them aren’t local, they say, including the owners of some of the buildings which need to be repaired.

Those owners are also responsible for the upkeep of their buildings.

“We are trying to be proactive, trying to encourage property owners to take care of their buildings,” said Scott Ford, the district’s operations and policy coordinator.

City code enforcement is urging the public to stay vigilant. Simpson says had it not been for that one city employee, Old Sacramento’s historic charm could have become a public safety threat.

“The first building probably would have been red tagged.”

The city is still trying to determine what needs to be repaired with each building; there is no timeline for when the work will be completed, because the city says it’s now all in the hands of the property owners.

  1. 150 year old buildings, built in a hurry during the Gold Rush, no building codes back then.
    I’m surprised they lasted this long without collapsing into a heap.

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