After City Council Nod, Mayor Set to Sign Controversial SoHo/NoHo Rezoning
Two years of controversy was capped Wednesday as the city passed a sweeping rezoning of the SoHo and NoHo neighborhoods.
The City Council voted overwhelmingly to approve the SoHo/NoHo rezoning by a 43 – 8 margin, thereby completing the final step in ULURP. The passage happened in the nick of time, with just two weeks remaining in Mayor de Blasio’s term.
The councilmembers who voted no were Ben Kallos, Carlos Menchaca, Robert Holden, Inez Barron, and Kalman Yeager.
Next stop is de Blasio’s office for the proverbial rubber stamp.
In a gloating joint release, Councilmembers Carlina Rivera and Margaret Chin (who is leaving office) hailed the vote as a victory for housing, despite “roadblocks from from private interests, political pressure, scare tactics, and misinformation.”
“The final zoning map and text are a product of countless hours of negotiation with the Administration and in-depth discussion with community stakeholders,” Chin said. “As a City Council Member I believe it is my responsibility to create equal housing opportunities in high-opportunity neighborhoods for low-income New Yorkers, and I am confident that this rezoning accomplishes that goal.”
“This historic rezoning will create a rational framework for equitable housing generation and retail operation – one that I hope we will see replicated in neighborhoods throughout the Five Boroughs in the years to come,” Rivera echoed. “Through hard work and rigorous process, made possible only by the unwavering dedication of our teams and advocates to building a better future for all New Yorkers, we were able to balance the concerns of community stakeholders while centering our main goal: to incentivize the creation of affordable housing in a transit- and resource-rich neighborhood.”
The most vocal opponent of the rezoning, Village Preservation, wasn’t buying it, though.
“This plan is a giant giveaway to real estate interests, with the promise that a tiny percentage of that enormous gift will be returned to the public in the form of new affordable housing,” executive director Andrew Berman responded in a statement. “The reality is in by far the majority of cases, it won’t. What it will do is prompt a flood of luxury condos, giant big-box chain stores and high-priced corporate offices and hotels, and generate enormous pressure and incentive to demolish hundreds of units of affordable rent-regulated housing in the area, displacing lower-income residents who are disproportionately seniors, artists, and Asian Americans.
“Everything about this process has been built on deception and sleight of hand — labeling a plan built by and for real estate interests as social justice; greenlighting mega-chain retail proliferation and calling it helping small businesses; shoehorning massive new development into one of the most traffic-clogged and flood-prone parts of New York City and claiming it’s responsible development.”