Judge Dismisses City’s Push to Kill SoHo Rezoning Lawsuit

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A judge dismissed the city’s push to kill the lawsuit against the controversial rezoning of SoHo and NoHo, allowing both the rezoning process and the lawsuit to continue.

New York State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron denied the city’s motion to throw out a lawsuit filed by two community groups against the rezoning and ordered the case to continue on July 7, Crain’s New York Business first reported.

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“The court correctly denied the city’s motion to dismiss in its entirety, leaving all of our claims intact,” Jason Zakai, the lawyer representing the group who filed a suit against the rezoning, said in a statement. “These developments are great steps toward achieving full transparency and public access during the SoHo/NoHo ULURP process, which is what the lawsuit is all about.”

In May, the SoHo Alliance and the Broadway Residents Coalition filed a lawsuit against the city to stop the months-long Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) over the use of Zoom meetings, an effort similar to the legal action looking to do the same for the rezoning of Gowanus, Brooklyn.

The groups asked for a temporary restraining order to halt the SoHo rezoning process, but Engoron ruled that there was “no showing of immediate, irreparable” harm in letting the process move forward, according to court records. The Department of City Planning certified the rezoning on May 17.

Lawyers for the city filed a motion last week to dismiss the SoHo rezoning lawsuit, arguing that the community groups “draw upon multiple meritless challenges” … “through legal maneuvering [to] prevent it from being considered through the ULURP process.” 

Despite vocal opposition from longtime residents of SoHo and NoHo, two of the city’s wealthiest neighborhoods, Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to update the area’s 1960s rezoning to allow for new retail and residential development. It could pave the way for up to 3,200 apartments to be built in the area, a quarter of which would be affordable.

But any delay to the ULURP process could spell doom for the rezoning, since it could extend the proceedings past de Blasio’s term, which ends at the end of the year.

A spokesperson for the New York City Law Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Update: This story has been updated to include a statement SoHo Alliance and Broadway Residents Coalition’s lawyer Jasaon Zakai.