Soho BID gets green light amid community opposition

October 18, 2013 01:25PM

City Council has approved the controversial Soho Business Improvement District after a three-year delay and despite widespread community opposition.

Area residents and small businesses have long fought against the implementation of a BID in Soho, saying the booming area doesn’t need the designation and that they are ill-equipped to afford an additional tax.

The tax levied to fund the BID’s efforts to clean litter will fall upon businesses in the form of rent increases, a release from neighborhood group the Soho Alliance alleged, pointing the finger at City Council member Margaret Chin, working with a BID steering committee led by Newmark & Co., as the approval’s chief backer.

“It appears that Chin couldn’t wait to pass her pet project soon enough after her election, so she took precious time off her campaign to ensure that the BID would be approved immediately after her primary victory, despite dawdling on it for three years,” Sean Sweeney, director of the Soho Alliance, said in the release. “Clearly she wanted passage of the BID but cynically sat on it until after she was re-elected, fearing the BID’s passage would hurt her at the polls.”

Chin’s approval of the BID, Sweeney said, is an act of vengeance for Soho’s lack of enthusiasm for her at the polls.

State Assembly member Deborah Glick and State Senator Daniel Squadron, meanwhile, did not support the BID. — Julie Strickland