NEW YORK — The City Planning Commission on Wednesday unanimously approved a plan to rezone SoHo and NoHo in Manhattan, despite fierce opposition from the local community board, as well as a number of advocacy groups. 

Eleven commissioners voted in favor of the SoHo/NoHo Neighborhood Plan Wednesday morning, setting the controversial proposal up for a City Council hearing and vote, a spokesman for the city’s Department of City Planning told NY1.

Before she cast her vote, City Planning Commission Chair Anita Laremont said the rezoning would create up to around 3,500 new residential units in the upscale neighborhoods, including approximately 900 “permanently affordable” ones. 

What You Need To Know

  • The City Planning Commission has voted to approve a controversial plan to rezone SoHo and NoHo in Manhattan

  • City Planning Commission Chair Anita Laremont says the rezoning will create up to around 3,500 new homes in the neighborhoods, including approximately 900 "permanently affordable" ones

  • Community Board 2 and advocacy groups including the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation oppose the plan, saying it will displace lower-income residents and incentivize 'office, dormitory and large retail development'

  • The commission's unanimous decision sets the proposed plan up for a City Council hearing and vote

“By bringing flexible and modern zoning to these historic mixed-use neighborhoods, the plan significantly advances New York City’s equity and inclusivity goals, helps address our severe and ongoing housing crisis, and serves to speed New York City’s economic recovery,” Laremont said. 

“Critically, this initiative affirms that historic preservation and continued growth can be mutually beneficial, especially with sensible urban design controls to help weave the new into the historic fabric,” she added. “It also offers meaningful support for the arts in a public-oriented way, while recognizing the continued contribution of artists to the vitality of SoHo and NoHo.” 

The commission’s vote came nearly three months after Community Board 2 adopted a resolution opposing the proposed plan, maintaining it “fails to achieve affordable housing goals and instead incentivizes office, dormitory and large retail development.” 

The board also said the plan would “displace existing rent-protected and low-income residents,” echoing concerns raised by approximately 200 local residents who attended a public hearing on the proposal in Lower Manhattan in June. 

The Department of City Planning stood by the commission's vote in a tweet following the decision, saying the proposal was “one step closer to bringing equitable housing and economic opportunities for all New Yorkers to these central communities, as we work to recover from the pandemic.” 

In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, however, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation Executive Director Andrew Berman blasted the commission’s decision. 

“It’s shameful, but not surprising, that the City Planning Commission, controlled by the mayor, would approve this disastrous plan that will deliver on none of its false affordable housing promises,” Berman said. “What it will do is threaten hundreds of units of rent-regulated affordable housing in these neighborhoods, driving out the considerable number of older, lower-income, longtime residents.”

“The only thing ‘affordable’ about this plan is how cheaply the Mayor’s donor friends got one of the biggest real estate giveaways in history,” he added. “It will make these neighborhoods richer and more expensive, and less diverse and less equitable, in spite of the mayor’s dishonest posturing to the contrary.”