August 31, 2021
Marisa Lago, Chair
NY City Planning Commission
Calendar Information Office
120 Broadway – 31st Floor
New York, NY 10271
Re: “Soho Noho Neighborhood Plan” Upzoning Proposal
Dear Chair Lago:
The Lower East Side Preservation Initiative – LESPI – is writing to strongly oppose the Mayor’s proposed “Soho Noho Neighborhood Plan” to upzone SoHo and NoHo. If approved, this plan would allow buildings to be built to 2½ times larger than what is currently permitted. It would promote out-of-scale luxury condominiums, destroy the character of these neighborhoods and set a dangerous precedent, threatening neighborhoods throughout the city.
Included in these neighborhoods are some of the city’s most popular historic districts. The plan, as it now exists, would dramatically alter the scale within those districts. It would also allow the proliferation of large chain Big Box stores, making it more difficult for small, independent and family-owned businesses to survive.
While this upzoning plan is presented as a means to promote affordable housing, the specifics of the plan belie that claim—there are no provisions for explicitly middle- and low-income residents. Actually, the plan promises to make the neighborhoods less affordable, neighborly and hospitable than they are now.
Instead, LESPI supports the Community Rezoning Plan for Soho/Noho, supported by many local community organizations. This plan would help create more affordable housing for the area, while maintaining the neighborhood character that so many residents, businesses and visitors cherish.
The charm and livability of New York City lie in its neighborhoods and their distinctive qualities. Those distinct charms are what draw prospective residents to live in New York and tourists to visit. Our historic districts and neighborhoods are not only characterized by beautiful, irreplaceable architecture, but typically with a low scale that allows for light and air, particularly important in these times of pandemic.
We respectfully urge the City Planning Commission to defend New York City neighborhoods and reject the “The SoHo/NoHo Neighborhood Plan” upzoning. Thank you.
Richard D. Moses
August 31, 2021