Community board votes down key de Blasio Soho rezoning plan

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The local community board overwhelmingly voted down Mayor Bill de Blasio’s controversial Soho development plan in a blow to Hizzoner’s last major land use project before he leaves office in December.

“We’re deeply gratified that the community board so roundly rejected it,” said Andrew Berman, head of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and a lead opponent of the project.

Berman and a broad coalition of other opponents say the plan doesn’t provide enough affordable housing, will create developments out of scale with the area’s low-slung, historic character and could actually displace longtime residents.

Community Board 2 voted 37-1 against the plan at a meeting Monday night.

The lone supporter told City Limits he backed the plan because it would provide housing to homeless children. However, the income levels required for the proposal’s 800 affordable units would likely be far out of reach for a family living in extreme poverty.

The plan will create another roughly 2,400 units of market-rate housing and update decades-old regulations for businesses and artists.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer will hold another public hearing on the plan in mid-August before announcing her decision on whether to support it by Aug. 26.

The proposal then goes back to the city Planning Department before finally making its way to the City Council for a vote.

A Planning Department spokesman told The Post the agency “will review the Community Board’s recommendation and is committed to working with all stakeholders to advance this plan for a more affordable and equitable Soho and Noho.”

Local Councilwomen Margaret Chin and Carlina Rivera have expressed concerns about the project, namely that it doesn’t have enough affordable housing and the mayor has ignored community concerns.

On NY1 before the vote Monday night, de Blasio said he was still “pretty confident” the plan will be approved.  

“The most powerful point here is, we’ve got to build affordable housing in the more privileged neighborhoods too. This is almost 1,000 units, 1,000 apartments in Soho, a place that most working people could never dream of living. I think that’s great,” de Blasio said on NY1.

A mayoral spokesman added, “The city remains extremely confident that we’ll complete the process this calendar year. Outdated zoning codes have boxed housing and jobs out of these neighborhoods for decades — New Yorkers can’t wait any longer to start a new chapter.”

Last year, Deputy Mayor Vicki Been said the real push for the plan moving forward was the combination of the coronavirus pandemic downturn and anti-police protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd.

“The pandemic and the movement for racial justice make clear that all neighborhoods must pull their weight to provide safe, affordable housing options,” Been said at the time.

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