Soho's artist-in-residence zoning law, which made way for the residential conversion of about 200 commercial lofts decades ago on the condition that each apartment contain a certified artist, has gone largely ignored. But it became more significant a few years ago, as tighter lending standards made banks wary of loans to buildings with such restrictions. Despite murmurings about abolishing the law, it remains on the books?but the group that wants to get rid of it has a plan, DNAinfo explains. The Soho/Noho Action Committee?led by real estate folk?has already raised more than half of the $25,000 it needs to conduct a survey of the neighborhoods' lofts this summer, checking whether each AIR loft actually contains an artist.
This seems like a strategy that could backfire, since it would expose residents living in violation of the artist-in-residence law. But the committee says it only wants to prove that the law is outdated and no longer needs to be part of city zoning code. (The city has certified about 3,540 artists, 17 of them approved in 2011.) The committee is still figuring out the survey methodology, since residents are unlikely to open the door and answer these kinds of questions.
· Group Hunts Non-Artists Wrongly Living in Soho and Noho Lofts [DNAinfo]
· Artist-in-residence Law coverage [Curbed]