Controversial dezoning of SoHo crosses the finish line


These changes included reducing the density and lowering the maximum building height in several parts of the dezoned area, limiting the size of new restaurants and bars, and banning university dormitories in the dezoned area.

The rezoning “marks a critical shift in our city’s historic practices of focusing our neighborhood rezoning in communities of color, which are made up of a majority of low-income families,” said City Councilor Carlina Rivera. “This rezoning will now move us towards a more equitable future where all neighborhoods participate in our continued fight against the housing crisis facing this city. “

The CPC unanimously voted to approve the city council’s changes at its meeting earlier Wednesday. It had previously voted unanimously to approve the rezoning in October.

Blasio’s administration renewed its efforts to rezone SoHo and NoHo in the fall of 2020, and the effort encountered strong resistance from the community throughout its journey. The Broadway Residents Coalition and the SoHo Alliance sued the town in the spring, saying authorities could not move the rezoning forward by holding virtual rather than in-person hearings, although Judge Arthur Engoron dismissed the lawsuit in the during the summer.

The Manhattan Community Board 2 also rejected Proposal 36-1 at its meeting in late July, and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said in September that she could not support the plan in its form. current.

Even Rivera and City Councilor Margaret Chin, who ultimately supported rezoning, criticized the Planning Department for not engaging enough with the community or not focusing enough on affordable housing during the land use review process. A city council change aims to ensure higher affordability in the plan by not letting developers use the city’s mandatory inclusive housing policy option to make 30% of the units in their buildings affordable for earning households. 80% of the region’s median income, or $ 95,440 for a family of four. Other options under the policy generally require residential units to be affordable to households earning less money.

The SoHo / NoHo vote gives Blasio’s administration two major rezoning wins at the very end of the mayor’s last term, with city council also voting 47-1 to approve the rezoning of Gowanus in late November. The city has estimated that this will bring about 8,000 homes to the Brooklyn neighborhood, of which more than 3,000 will be affordable.

These successes stand in stark contrast to the administration’s previous rezoning defeats, such as attempts to rezone parts of Southern Boulevard and Bushwick which failed in the face of opposition from respective local council members.

“Today, New York City took a generational step toward building a recovery for all of us,” said de Blasio. “This rezoning victory sends a powerful message that every community can and should join the fight to help resolve our affordable housing crisis and make this city accessible to working families. “

Chin hailed the rezoning as a great opportunity to bring more affordable housing to the city.

“We fought really hard to make sure that every neighborhood – especially the wealthier neighborhoods with job opportunities, good public transportation – that they have to do their part to help provide affordable housing opportunities. Chin said, “and I think we’ve done that in this rezoning.”

The Village Preservation group has been a fierce opponent of the rezoning of SoHo / NoHo throughout the approval process, and executive director Andrew Berman has continued to criticize the proposal in the face of its adoption.

“Despite all the smoke and mirrors, let’s be clear: this plan is a giant giveaway to real estate interests, with the promise that a small percentage of this huge giveaway will be returned to the public in the form of new affordable housing,” he said. “The reality is, in the vast majority of cases, it won’t.”


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