Opponents Vastly Outnumber Supporters At Rezoning Hearing; Village Preservation Releases Study Showing City Projections for Neighborhood Rezonings Are ‘Less Reliable Than Flipping a Coin’

Jena Hinton of Village Preservation testifying at the City Council hearing.
Jena Hinton of Village Preservation testifying at the City Council hearing.

Yesterday’s City Council hearing on the Mayor’s proposed SoHo/NoHo/Chinatown Upzoning/Displacement plan lasted about seven hours, with opponents — many longtime residents of rent-regulated housing threatened with displacement by the plan — vastly outnumbering supporters of the plan, nearly all of whom were associated with a single group that advocates stripping landmark designations and allowing maximum unfettered development throughout New York City, or were developers who would benefit from the rezoning. Village Preservation had 16 speakers deliver our detailed testimony to the Council, the content of which can be found here.

This will likely be the final public hearing on this proposal, which must be approved by the Zoning Subcommittee, Land Use Committee, and full City Council before the end of the year. Dates of those votes have not yet been scheduled, but we will let you know when they are. Local Councilmembers Margaret Chin, Carlina Rivera, and Corey Johnson will be key to that final outcome.

Prior to the hearing, Village Preservation released our latest report Less Reliable Than Flipping A Coin: The Department of City Planning’s Miserable Track Record on Predicting Rezoning Outcomes, which compared the City’s predicted results of several neighborhood rezonings in recent years with the actual results. We found that in nearly every case, the City had an accuracy rate of less than 50% — the frequency with which a random coin flip would provide the right answer. Most disturbingly, these vast inaccuracies were most frequent when it came to their predictions about when, where, how much, and what kind of development would take place, including the types of development that were the justification for the rezoning. This is especially relevant as the City’s arguments for the SoHo/NoHo/Chinatown Upzoning are based upon highly disputed projections about the amount of housing and affordable housing they will produce. Read the report here. Read more of our analysis of the true impacts of the plan here.

Comments for the City Council hearing can be submitted until close of business on Friday, November 12. We also encourage you to send a letter to each individual City Councilmember urging them to VOTE NO on the plan.

November 12, 2021