CITYWIDE — A petition calling for greater flexibility on heights and densities for eight development sites in Downtown has slowly gained traction over the past several weeks, with a diverse group of signatories asking for open dialogue on the issue.

The petition was started by Scott Schonfeld, a managing partner with Centennial Real Estate, who has spoken at several of the public meetings in favor of looser standards for eight opportunity sites, areas city officials have identified as capable of sustaining higher, denser development in exchange for rich community benefits.

It declares the signer a Santa Monica resident in favor of evaluating the projects “based on its individual merits following open community discussion and further study.”

It specifically does not show support for any individual project nor is it a recommendation for height for any project, the petition reads.

The petition, which has been available for three weeks, came in response to a series of community meetings in which Santa Monicans uncomfortable with unchecked development in Downtown and in favor of capping heights at 84 feet packed the house and the comment cards.

It was an effort to show that there are others in the community who feel differently, Schonfeld said.

“There are a lot of people who are happy with what’s going on,” he said. “The idea is to give them a voice.”

As of July 11, the petition had received 142 signatures.

The City Council will discuss heights and densities for opportunity sites and the rest of Downtown that will be studied in an environmental document on Aug. 13.

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