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Manhattan Rezonings Pose Tough Challenges for Planners
The Department of City Planning, along with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Councilwoman Margaret Chin, held the first public meetings for the rezoning of SoHo and parts of NoHo, reports Joe Anuta, "[a] process that is designed to bring relief to property owners and retailers but that could trigger community opposition."
The challenges facing the neighborhood are proof of a broken development approvals system. "Pricey condominiums and retail uses have proliferated in the area, but they are technically not allowed under the arcane manufacturing rules that still govern buildings there. To get around the strictures, businesses and residents have either flouted the laws or applied to the city for exemptions," writes Anuta.
"Updating the zoning code would allow common uses to exist as of right, providing more predictability to building owners and to tenants and other residents. However, longtime residents might bristle at the idea of giving up the permitting process—and the ability to weigh in at public hearings—for things such as new stores."
For more context on the rezoning process, see earlier coverage from September 2018.