City Signals Window-Dressing Changes to SoHo/NoHo Rezoning Plan

Earlier this week, the City Planning Commission (controlled by Mayor de Blasio) met to review the Mayor’s SoHo/NoHo upzoning plan. They acknowledged the significant pushback against the plan, particularly its incentivizing the demolition of rent-regulated affordable housing and encouraging new development with little or no affordable housing — all critiques by Village Preservation. The Commission responded with continued lies about some aspects of the plan, but also with some window-dressing changes to the plan they seem likely to make.

Those changes (see presentation here) involve extending “anti-harassment” provisions to the proposed rezoning area, and slightly reducing the allowable square footage for one class of nonresidential development in two small sections of the rezoning. The latter is intended to buttress the City’s claim that their rezoning won’t endanger rent-regulated tenants or housing; it will, and the anti-harassment provisions will do little to change that, based upon evaluations made by housing and tenant advocates. The former is intended to support the City’s claim that the proposed rezoning will produce significant amounts of affordable housing; it won’t, and these proposed changes will do little to change that. They don’t affect more than 90% of the rezoning area and the location of by far the majority of the sites where the City (falsely) claims affordable housing is likely to be built. Even in those small areas where the changes will apply, they are unlikely to substantially change the incentives for building without affordable housing; look for further analysis from Village Preservation soon.

Another review session by the City Planning Commission is expected in early October, followed by a vote, after which if approved as expected it will be sent to the City Council for a hearing and vote and a final decision on its fate.


September 24, 2021