Two sides struggle over SoHo repartition at final public hearing

Opponents of council members argued that the plan to add about 3,000 new units and change land-use rules on a 56-block plot of lower Manhattan would spur demolition to make way for luxury housing, usher in big retail and change the artistic character for good. Famous SoHo and NoHo neighborhoods.

Uday Talwar

Architecturally the historic E.V. Haughwout Building was built in 1857 with two cast iron facades on the corner of Broome Street and Broadway in SoHo, Manhattan.

Defenders and critics of the plan to redistrict a district of Soho clashed again Tuesday, saying Familiar arguments The critically acclaimed circulated during the final public hearing before the city council vote.

The remote hearing, hosted by the council’s subcommittee on zoning, included testimony from dozens of opponents who told council members that a plan to add about 3,000 new units and change land-use rules on an acreage of 56 buildings in lower Manhattan would spur demolition to make way. For luxury housing, step into the big retail business and forever change the artistic character of the iconic SoHo and NoHo neighborhoods. They had the support of two state legislators, Assemblyman Deborah Glick and Senator Brad Hoylman, who also saw against the proposal.

Supporters of the plan opposed this resistance, urging the council to vote in favor of a partition that would add much-needed housing — including about 900 units designated for middle-income people and some low-income renters — to one of the city’s whitest areas. New York. the richest societies. Made famous by the artists who took over the lofts of the manufacturing district in the 1960s and 1970s, SoHo and NoHo have become among the city’s most expensive areas and home to an elite shopping district.

The proposed repartition, along with Land use proposal for a portion of Gowanus in BrooklynThis is the first time Mayor Bill de Blasio has sought to increase white areas with household incomes well above the city average. Both proposals have garnered support from housing groups who say the changes will boost diversity, in contrast to previous zoning in lower-income neighborhoods like eastern New York and the Jerome Avenue corridor, which fueled displacement.

But even strong proponents, such as members of the pro-density group Open New York, acknowledge that the current plan has flaws — including what they see as an excessive focus on the commercial floor area ratio (FAR), which they fear could boost office development rather than add more housing. . Manhattan Borough President Jill Brewer also criticized FAR business allowances are in the plan.

“The answer is clear: Build more housing,” said Andy Cheng, a supporter of the redistricting who testified on Tuesday. “Low office and commercial densities in order to build more housing instead.”

In his comments to the committee, Zheng called opponents of repartitioning “aesthetic snoopers” more concerned with preserving the historical character of SoHo and NoHo than alleviating the city’s housing crisis. The suspension was one example of the rising tensions between plan supporters and opponents.

Zick Luger, a student at Queen’s College who is an outspoken opponent of redistricting, Accused Open New York from the “bullying” of New Yorkers who do not support the plan.

The two camps continued to raise their cases in a series of public hearings, planning sessions and community board meetings long before the city submitted its land use application in May and began the formal review process.

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