Slow-growth heads are spinning after Phil Brock’s proposal last week that hands developers a free pass to exceed local zoning and overbuild our city with unneeded market-rate housing instead of deed-restricted affordable housing for our working families.

Perhaps Phil will protest that’s an unintended consequence, but think this through.

Residents have been signing petitions for a ballot measure to raise tens of millions of dollars for affordable housing. Without that money, leveraged with grants and tax credits, Santa Monica will never be able to provide the requisite low-income housing to meet the current state mandate.

If we fail to address our affordable housing challenges, the state can penalize our city by bulldozing local zoning limits and empowering developers to proceed willy-nilly, building still more highly profitable market-rate housing we don’t need. 

Phil has proposed a competing ballot measure, which would replace the resident-signed petition to raise affordable housing money. One consequence: missed affordable housing opportunities could lead to state intervention, and further loss of local control over our zoning.

An unintended disaster is still a disaster. City Council, please think this through before putting Phil’s idea on the ballot.

Kevin McKeown, Santa Monica