The proposal to rezone Soho and Noho can technically move forward — but it remains on hold for now.
Judge Arthur Engoron on Monday declined to issue a temporary restraining order barring the Department of City Planning from certifying the rezoning application, saying community groups fighting the proposal failed to show “immediate and irreparable harm.”
Those groups and area residents filed a lawsuit last week seeking to halt the rezoning, alleging that the hearings held as part of the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure must happen in-person.
Despite Engoron’s decision, City Planning held off on certifying the application during a Monday meeting. According to Jason Zakai, an attorney for the community groups, the city told the court that it would not move forward with the certification.
“Presumably, this was the basis for the Court’s order,” Zakai said in an email. “Our clients are considering their legal options as the facts continue to develop.” A hearing on the lawsuit is slated for June 3.
Joe Marvilli, a spokesperson for the Department of City Planning, said that the city is finalizing the application and “looks forward to beginning public review in the near future.”
The rezoning would affect 56 blocks across Soho and Noho, eliminating restrictions that permit only light manufacturing use on ground floors and paving the way for 2 million square feet of new residential space.
Last month, a state judge allowed a proposal to rezone Gowanus to move forward after opponents filed a lawsuit that made similar claims as the Soho complaint. The city ultimately agreed to hold joint outdoor hearings at the same time as virtual proceedings.
Having Engoron oversee the case may be cause for concern for some supporters of the Soho rezoning. The judge repeatedly sided with community groups that opposed a controversial plan to bring several skyscrapers to Two Bridges. His decisions in those cases, however, were reversed on appeal.