BY THE VILLAGE SUN | Like a number of his other 11th-hour initatives, Mayor de Blasio’s furious scramble to approve the Soho/Noho rezoning is coming down to the wire.
Slated to vote on the contentious initiative next week are the City Council’s Zoning and Franchises Subcommittee on Tues., Dec. 7, followed by the Land Use Committee on Thurs., Dec. 9.
According to Jeannine Kiely, the chairperson of Community Board 2, these votes will be critical.
“The rezoning will be finalized by next Thursday,” she explained.
With the Christmas holiday fast approaching, the full City Council will then vote on the Soho/Noho rezoning at its stated meeting the following week on Wed., Dec. 15. The term-limited de Blasio would then have to sign off on the rezoning as one of his final acts before having to vacate City Hall.
Kiely shared the timeline for the rezoning votes at Thursday evening’s joint meeting of the C.B. 2 Land Use Committee and Soho/Noho Working Group. On the meeting’s agenda was related legislation, which is also totally last-minute, by Councilmember Margaret Chin, who is also term-limited, to increase fines for Soho/Noho nonartist residents in Joint Live Work Quarters for Artists-zoned housing.
C.B. 2 members and local residents at the meeting roundly decried the proposed legislation as “punitive” and half-baked.
Chin surprisingly did not attend the meeting herself, sending aides to speak on her behalf. However, her staffers appeared overwhelmed by and unable to answer many of the probing questions thrown at them about the proposal by board members and longtime locals. Shortly after being advised by Frederica Sigel, who was chairing the meeting, just to stop trying to answer questions if she was unable to, Chin’s deputy chief of staff abruptly dropped off the Zoom call.
Christopher Marte, who will succeed Chin in four weeks as the District 1 councilmember, called the confusing and problematic legislation a red herring.
“It seems like this is being rushed through to distract from the rezoning,” he said.