New York commences public process for SoHo-NoHo neighborhood plan

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The New York Mayor, Bill de Blasio, has announced the commencement of SoHo-NoHo Neighborhood Plan.

While making the announcement on Friday October 9, 2020, Blasio stated that the plan will advance into the City’s public land use review process, a major milestone toward realizing a shared vision for an inclusive and vibrant SoHo and NoHo.

According the Mayor, the proposal would replace outdated, 50-year-old zoning to offer greater flexibility for ground floor use by businesses and arts and cultural organizations, while incentivizing the creation of new permanently affordable homes.

He added that this proposal will open two neighborhoods with exceptional access to transit, schools, jobs, and other amenities to many more New Yorkers and advance the City’s goals of fair housing and equitable growth.

“New York City has changed a lot in the last fifty years, and SoHo and NoHo have changed with it. Thoughtful, progressive zoning changes will pave the way for the next fifty years of growth – while making two iconic neighborhoods more accessible than ever, and helping us rebuild a fairer and better city,” said Blasio.

“The SoHo-NoHo rezoning is a critical step to promote fair housing and ensure that these two neighborhoods and New York City as a whole recover fairly and robustly,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been.

“The pandemic and the movement for racial justice make clear that all neighborhoods must pull their weight to provide safe, affordable housing options.

“Updating the zoning in one of the city’s most iconic retail districts also will give arts and cultural organizations, retail, and other businesses more flexible options to recover, adapt, and succeed. I look forward to working through the land use process with Council Member Chin and all of our partners from these neighborhoods and throughout the city,” he added.

The changes would cover an area generally bounded by Canal Street to the south, Houston Street and Astor Place to the north, Lafayette Street and the Bowery to the east, and Sixth Avenue and West Broadway to the west.

The area is currently mapped with zoning districts found only in the SoHo and NoHo neighborhoods and which date to the early 1970s, when vacant manufacturing buildings were being repurposed by artists and others drawn to the neighborhoods’ versatile and affordable lofts.

The proposal would also allow new homes to be created and require affordable housing in all new developments, allowing as many as 3,200 new homes to be created, with approximately 800 permanently affordable homes via Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH).

Existing rent-regulated homes, many covered by the Loft Law, will remain protected. Rules designed in the 1970’s to recognize artist live-work space would be reimagined to reflect modern live-work modes.

This initiative also furthers the priorities developed in Where We Live NYC, the City’s ongoing fair housing planning process. Where We Live NYC calls for changes to ensure every neighborhood can contribute to the City’s affordable housing development goals – especially amenity-rich, high-income, disproportionately white areas like SoHo and NoHo.

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