City Planning Certifies Controversial SoHo/NoHo Rezoning Plan

Posted on: May 18th, 2021 at 5:00 am by

Photo: Eddie Panta

After more than two years of planning (and missteps with the community), the rezoning of SoHo and NoHo is moving forward.

The City Planning Commission yesterday certified the application to rezone these contiguous neighborhoods, kickstarting the tedious public land-use review process (ULURP). The proposed changes to update the 1970s-era zoning would apply to roughly 56 blocks, covering an area generally bounded by Canal Street to the south, Houston Street and Astor Place to the north, Lafayette Street and the Bowery to the east, and Sixth Avenue and West Broadway to the west.

“Built on years of community engagement, this proposal was crafted with a lens focused on fair housing, an equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, reinforcing SoHo/NoHo as a regional hub for jobs and commerce, and preserving and augmenting the arts. Through permanently affordable housing requirements and support for the arts, this plan is a giant step forward towards a more equitable and even livelier New York City,” said CPC Chair Marisa Lago in a press release yesterday.

Opponents, however, don’t share this rosy view, and blasted the “lame duck” de Blasio plan.

The sudden announcement arrives nearly two weeks after the city postponed the certification; it had done so despite a community lawsuit brought forth last month by Soho Alliance and Broadway Residents Coalition alleging the mayor was exploiting the pandemic to rush through the plan, wrongfully denying in-person meetings.

(At the time, Judge Arthur Engoron also declined to issue a temporary restraining order to stop the rezoning from proceeding, saying claimants failed to show “immediate and irreparable harm.”)

In addition, Village Preservation last Friday released a study that analyzed the plan and found that in every case where the City predicted affordable housing would be included in new development, the plan actually makes it more lucrative to build without the affordable housing. You can read more about that here.

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