SANTA MONICA—In a 4-3 vote on Tuesday, May 5, Santa Monica saw the end to a local debate regarding an update to their current zoning laws. Even after their somewhat optimistic April 16 meeting, the Santa Monica City Council ultimately voted against the new housing proposition, which would have allowed construction of buildings five stories or taller in certain downtown areas.
For those in support of re-zoning, the option to increase density was seen as an opportunity to create more affordable housing. Those against it saw things differently, as local groups like Residocracy and Friends of Sunset Park viewed increased building height to be both detrimental to the city’s beach character as well as an invitation to increase traffic congestion. Supporters of the latter group of thinking voiced their concern the day of the vote — protesting outside city hall while council members reached their decision.
Residents against the re-zoning proposition can take comfort in knowing their voices were heard by the council, but certain factors remain a concern to others in the wake of this decision. Steadily increasing rent, along with the recent rise in rent-controlled tenant evictions have some residents, primarily renters, concerned with Tuesday’s verdict.
An increase in zoning density could solve heavy monetary struggles. Fiscal savings would not be without major structural changes.