We formed the Coalition for Fairness in SoHo and NoHo to protect the rights of SoHo and NoHo working families and individuals, retirees and artists (conforming or not) to keep their homes without unprecedented fines and unnecessary conversions which would require bringing historical buildings into compliance with the most recent construction code.
Permanently legalize residential use of our homes
Soho and Noho were zoned over 50 years ago to address a narrow set of needs. In the ensuing years zoning laws have not kept pace with the changing population. This new zoning has failed to do what all rezoning must do, which is to legalize existing uses. Instead, it makes it even more difficult for residents to comply, and ultimately threatens many with losing their homes..
Advance racial and achieve socio-economic diversity
The rezoning area includes SoHo, NoHo, and parts of Chinatown, an eclectic and diverse community of working families and individuals, artists and entrepreneurs. It is this unique, multi-faceted background that makes it one of the most vibrant and inspirational areas in New York City and the nation. Already, the neighborhood stands at a ratio of about 60% white and 40% minority, which exceeds the national average of about 76.3% being white, as well as that of other NYC neighborhoods like the Upper East and Upper West sides and Park Slope. With our philosophy of inclusion and acceptance, we hope to continue to support racial and socio-economic diversity, which includes truly affordable housing.
Preserve and expand our artistic community
Yes, many of the pioneering artists continue to live here, albeit invisibly with studios and homes above the storefronts. Since SoHo was designed with landmark status in 1978, we’ve remained a thriving artistic community, with many well known as well as younger artists.
Address the adverse environmental impact from the rezoning
We are concerned that the City failed to resolve many critical issues identified during the rezoning process. For example, the open space ratio, already two thirds below City recommended levels, will be further cut in half. Critical impacts on air pollution, school seats, noise and transportation have not been properly evaluated or mitigated. The current plan adds no seats to already over-crowded schools despite adding 3,200 new households.
Ensure that the SoHo/NoHo Arts Fund directly benefits SoHo and NoHo
The Arts Fund was designed to support the artistic character in SoHo and NoHo from the impact of the rezoning. Instead, it will be taking money from the neighborhood and sending it to an area that is at least 20 times larger. The Fund only takes from existing residents. The cost of this fund to existing residents must be dramatically reduced or eliminated, and the burden must be shared by new commercial, retail and luxury developments..
Maintain the residential nature of our neighborhood
For our community to thrive and pulsate with life, we must incentivize residential use over commercial development. This residential development must include true affordable housing. We want to discourage large scale commercial uses and improve life quality for the existing and new residents.
Our Action Plan Includes
Petitioning New York City to resolve the most problematic aspects of the rezoning.
Working with our City and State legislatures to legalize the existing use of our homes and to resolve the most problematic parts of the rezoning through amendments and additional legislation
Telling our story of the majority of the residents of SoHo and NoHo: working families and individuals, retirees and artists (certified or not) and school aged children
We are advocating for:
Protecting the most vulnerable homeowners and renters in the rezoning area from impositions, penalties and evictions
Preserving the historic, artistic, and residential nature of the neighborhood
Preserving existing affordable housing and creating true affordable housing in our neighborhood and the rest of NYC
A considerate rezoning plan that incorporates community input and addresses the critical environmental and quality of life aspects of our neighborhood