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.
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.
Manhattan Community Council 2, which overlaps the proposed redistricting district, Vote 37 to 1 Against the plan in July. Councilman Margaret Chin, who represents most of the proposed redistricting district, has voiced support for the plan, although she and Councilman Carolina Rivera, who represents part of the district, have urged the city’s planning department to “”a guarantee“Affordable housing in the rezoned area.
The city needs more housing that people can afford — working families, immigrants, the elderly. This is a great need and in this neighborhood no new affordable housing has been created,” Chen Tell POLITICO in July. “For me, it’s the right thing to do.”
Chen’s position could be key to the bottom line, given that the council historically votes jointly with the local member on land-use decisions—a tradition of “respecting members.”
Opponents sought to defer the process of approving the redistricting to the administration of the incoming mayor. Chen’s successor, elected council member Christopher Mart, is a staunch opponent of the plan.
The proposal known as SoHo / NoHo . Neighborhood Plan, will cover the connecting blocks of the Astor District and Houston Street to the north; Bowery, Lafayette, and Baxter streets to the east; Canal Street to the south, Sixth Avenue, West Broadway and Broadway to the west. It would allow buildings to reach a height of up to 275 feet outside the Historic District (which makes up 85 percent of the proposed redistricting area) and along Canal and Bury Streets, legalizing commercial use rather than forcing property owners to seek variations in an area designated for industrialization.
The plan will also allow residents who live in unique co-working spaces for artists (JLWQA) to convert their homes into residential areas by paying into the Artists Trust. JLWQA is a SoHo designation that allows artists to live in the manufacturing area only. The artist’s fund proposal is among the aims of the plan’s critics.
“The town aims to strike the first Soho settlers who built this neighborhood with a penalty tax on the fruits of their labour,” said Jane Fisher, a local. Department of Town Planning (DCP) He says Transfer fees are “totally optional,” adding that “the JLWQA program will also remain an option for certified artists forever.”
On Monday, before the hearing, Qin introduced legislation It would increase penalties for non-artists living in JLWQAs – in an effort to allay concerns about deportation of artists.
Anita Larremont, director of the DCP, testified that the plan updates land-use rules for an area that has not been redistricted since 1971, which limit new housing development and force companies to seek variations to operate in an industrial area.
“As such, this restrictive system has resulted in very limited housing options that exclude middle and lower income New Yorkers, increases pressure on neighborhoods and less conservation areas, contributes to storefront vacancies, and disproportionately burdens small business owners, who They often lack the resources and ability to navigate the land use and environmental review processes, which therefore puts them at a disadvantage,” Larmont said.