On Thursday, September 2, the City Planning Commission held a special hearing regarding the SoHo/NoHo rezoning plan as part of its ongoing Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) assessment of the SoHo/NoHo Neighborhood Plan proposal.
SoHo Broadway Initiative Executive Director Mark Dicus shared testimony outlining the Initiative’s position and recommendations in response to the City’s proposal.
Mark’s testimony on behalf of the Initiative highlighted significant recommended modifications to the proposed plan. Among the Initiative’s key recommendations is a substantial reduction to the City’s proposed height and bulk increases along Broadway to protect the existing scale and density of buildings within the the SoHo Cast Iron Historic District. For instance, the Initiative calls for the maximum building height to be reduced to 125 feet from the City’s proposal of 205 feet, among other changes. These recommendations were developed through careful analysis working with PKSB Architects, who prepared a SoHo-NoHo Rezoning Impact Study for the SoHo Broadway corridor.
His testimony also recommended modifications to the City’s proposal to allow as-of-right retail on Broadway only on the 2nd floor and below, with only limited low-impact retail uses such as yoga studios, galleries, and spas allowed above the 2nd floor without a special permit. In addition, the testimony called the proposed arts fund unsustainable and burdensome on owners of JLWQA units and recommended alternative approaches be explored. Finally, the Initiative urges the City to develop a comprehensive approach to address quality of life issues such as delivery issues, traffic, garbage, sanitation, and noise which are continued challenges in this mixed-use neighborhood. The testimony can be read in full here.
The Initiative also continues to advocate for allowing residential use as-of-right, protection of existing JLWQA, rent regulated, and Loft Law tenants, and ensuring the neighborhood’s role as a home for creative and artistic communities continues into the future.
Given the diversity of the perspectives among our constituents, the Initiative has worked diligently to propose changes to the City’s proposal that would make it better align with the planning goals that our residential and commercial stakeholders have approved. The Initiative is hopeful that City officials will take these recommendations under consideration to improve the proposal as the ULURP process continues.
The City Planning Commission is expected to vote on the proposal before the end of October after which the proposal will be considered by the New York City Council for action by mid-December.