Community Groups Unite to Protect Character of SoHo-NoHo Amid Rezoning Push

Posted on: March 5th, 2019 at 5:03 am by

DCP and retailer Michele Varian, Photo: Eddie Panta

Mere days after the latest public workshop dedicated to “exploring” the rezoning of SoHo and NoHo, a new coalition of grassroots community groups has emerged. Dubbed the “Save SoHo-NoHo Coalition,” the goal is to advocate on behalf of residents and protect the neighborhood character (what’s left of it).

Participants include the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors, Broadway Residents Coalition, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, Lower Manhattan Loft Tenants, NoHo Neighborhood Association, and the SoHo Alliance

Their formation yesterday was also in direct response to an opposing organization (“Fix SoHo NoHo Coaltion”), which is more in tune with real estate interests.

From the mailer:

The Save SoHo-NoHo Coalition delineated the following principles they will advocate for in response to the potential rezoning and the push for changes by real estate and large institutional interests:

  • Preserve the existing rights and protections for residents, esp. artists/those in JLWQA (Joint Living-Work Quarters for Artists)
  • Maintain the existing allowable FAR (density of development as measured by floor area)
  • Uphold existing limits on the maximum allowable size of retail
  • Keep public review for developments or uses not currently allowed
  • Limit types of university uses to those allowable under existing zoning
  • Keep the creative character of SoHo and NoHo

In January, Mayor de Blasio’s Department of City Planning, Borough President Gale Brewer, and City Councilmember Margaret Chin announced the launch of “a public engagement process to inform future planning efforts in…SoHo and NoHo,” the current zoning for which they said, “presents increasing challenges to the continued vitality of SoHo/NoHo.” An initial ‘Open House’ for the planning process saw an unanticipated crowd of hundreds of residents expressing skepticism about the process and the meeting, which the press described as “chaotic.” Three more public workshops are planned through May 2, with a scheduled public “Summary of Recommendations” scheduled for June 6.

Let the games begin…

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