Judge Denies City’s Motion to Dismiss Community Lawsuit in SoHo/NoHo Rezoning
The New York State Supreme Court last week denied the city’s motion to dismiss the ongoing community lawsuit over the controversial SoHo/NoHo Rezoning plan. Apparently, the city’s handling of the public review portion of the procedure was cause for concern.
As previously reported, SoHo Alliance and Broadway Residents Coalition together sued the city in April, alleging that the mayor exploited the pandemic to rush through the plan, and deny in-person meetings. Indeed, this central claim was based on the requirement that the Department of City Planning must give the local community board and borough president a detailed summary of any rezoning proposal at least thirty days ahead of the land-use review process and must publish that summary publicly.
Instead, City Planning in April emailed CB2 an announcement that a plan to rezone the two neighborhoods would commence in thirty days.
The claimants’ attorney argued, since insufficient notice was given, that the city must follow the law and submit a detailed summary of its rezoning proposal, and then restart the public review process. The city’s counsel, however, claimed that the manner in which the agency prepared its notice was “discretionary.”
Justice Arthur Engoron appeared to side with the community position, stating that to provide sufficient notice is indeed a requirement and not discretionary. Twice during proceedings he noted that insufficient notice is the same as no notice. Engoron also stated that it would be counterproductive for the city to proceed with the public review process while this case remains active.
The next court date is July 7.