On Tuesday evening, Soho residents will meet to discuss zoning laws that require tenants to have a certificate from the city proving they are working artists. Until recently, the laws, which are decades old, had not been enforced. Now, the city's Department of Buildings is denying the certificate applications of prospective new buyers, according to area residents.
“We want the zoning to fit the use, as most zoning statues require,” said Margaret Baisley, a lawyer who wants to see the rules changed to reflect the majority of non-artist residents who live in Soho today.
But the Soho Alliance, which represents artists living in the neighborhood, is on the fence about changing the rules.
“Even millionaires — they need a place to live," said Sean Sweeny, who works for the alliance. "We're not trying to evict millionaires nor working artists."