Forty years ago, zoning laws were enacted in New York permitting joint live/work quarters for artists who were certified by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. They were necessary to protect the remaining manufacturing uses as well as artists who occupied vacant or underutilized buildings here. Now, SoHo/NoHo are vibrant and diversified mixed use communities occupied not only by artists, but also by individuals and families with a broad range of professions. In addition, the zoning does not allow retail use of the ground floors of many SoHo/NoHo buildings, even though most ground floors now have retail uses.
We live under a growing cloud of illegality and it’s time to clear the air. We can no longer ignore the long standing reality that the zoning of Soho and Noho does not match its current use.The SoHo/NoHo Action Committee has worked on behalf of the community to assess the current uses in the community and initiate appropriate changes to the current laws. They are committed to protecting everyone’s occupancy and livelihood, certified artists as well as non-artists.
Since meeting June 2011, the SoHo/NoHo Action Committee has made great progress and brought their concerns to governmental agencies such as the New York City Department of City Planning, the local City Council representatives, Community Board representatives, the Mayor’s office and others in the political community. BUT they cannot move forward without an accurate and comprehensive survey of how these loft buildings are occupied–both commercially and residentially. Here’s where they need your help:
The Committee is hiring an independent surveying team from the Real Estate Institute of Baruch College and they need to fund their work this summer. This survey is critical to progress on this important issue. No New York City agency will entertain this application without a survey of the existing conditions in the Soho/Noho neighborhood. Your support will enable bringing SoHo/NoHo into the 21st century and protect the property rights of countless owners who have contibuted to these vibrant neighborhoods. It is time to face the reality that lofts in SoHo/NoHo are no longer used for manufacturing, that many people occupy their spaces as residences, and that the manufacturing zoning which allows only certified artists is no longer the solution. This must change and this survey is a critical element to bring about this change.
The legal funding goal is $25,000 and must raise this amount by May 15th in order to complete the survey this summer. If each family in the community donated $100,or each building $1000, this goal would be reached quite easily. Please pass on the word to anyone living in Soho or Noho to join and help in this critical moment to affect the kind of change that respects the past and acknowledges the future of SoHo/NoHo. Make your checks payable to:
SoHo/NoHo Action Committee
c/o Margaret D. Baisley, 561 Broadway, Suite 10C
New York, New York 10012