Judge Dismisses Community Groups’ Lawsuit to Kill SoHo Rezoning
The controversial rezoning of SoHo and NoHo can advance after a judge tossed out a lawsuit aiming to kill the process.
New York State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron ruled on Thursday against two community groups’ effort to stop the rezoning, court records show.
“This ruling is a big win for New Yorkers in need of affordable housing,” a spokesperson for the New York City Law Department said in a statement. “We are pleased that the court dismissed meritless allegations that the city cut corners in getting this rezoning started and recognized that the city’s lawful and proper actions allowed for meaningful public involvement.”
The SoHo Alliance and the Broadway Residents Coalition hit the city with a lawsuit in April to stop the start of the typically seven-month approval process for the SoHo and NoHo rezoning, arguing that meetings for the projects must be held in person and not over Zoom, and that the city didn’t give enough notice to the community that it was starting the review process.
However, Engoron ruled against the groups and said the city “demonstrated that they fulfilled their ministerial duty” to notify the local community board.
“We disagree with the decision, and we are considering our options and next steps, including a possible appeal,” Jason Zakai, the lawyer for the community groups, said in a statement.
A spokesperson for the de Blasio administration did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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 new apartments, a quarter of which would be affordable.
And, while a further delay to the land use review process could’ve doomed the rezoning before, as it could push it past de Blasio’s term, those in favor of it might be able to breathe a sigh of relief.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams — who just clinched the Democratic mayoral nomination, leaving many in the city’s real estate sector jumping for joy — has previously voiced his support for the rezoning.
Nicholas Rizzi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.