Glick, Kavanagh Celebrate Signing of Legislation Protecting Loft Residents
Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick, 66th A.D. (Manhattan), and Senator Brian P. Kavanagh, 26th S.D. (Manhattan & Brooklyn) announced today their JLWQA bill (A.9675A/S.8793A) was signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul. This new law will ensure that residents living in a Joint Live-Work Quarters for Artists (JLWQA) unit may continue to live in their homes, regardless of their status as a certified artist.
For many decades, former commercial and manufacturing space in SoHo and NoHo has been permitted to be used as live-work space for artists. These JLWQA loft units have been an important component of Lower Manhattan’s cultural identity as a center for the arts. Over time, JLWQA units increasingly became inhabited by residents who lacked the required artist certification from the Department of Cultural Affairs. Residents have raised concerns over a certification process that has not kept pace with expanded arts disciplines. In any case, with rare exceptions, this requirement has not been meaningfully enforced by the City for decades.
Following closely to the controversial rezoning of SoHo and NoHo in December 2021 in which non-compliant residents were told they would have to pay an exorbitant fine to rezone their home, a bill was passed by the City Council to drastically increase penalties on non-certified JLWQA residents. Although this City legislation was thankfully vetoed by Mayor Adams, the need to protect longstanding community members from onerous fines was made clear. This new law protects individuals who resided in a JLWQA unit as of December 15, 2021 from being penalized for not being certified as an artist.
Assemblymember Glick said, “Longstanding SoHo and NoHo community members should not have to continuously worry about punitive fines or their security in their lofts due to an outdated artist certification process, or the zoning area where JLWQA status was enshrined in the zoning text. This new law carefully balances the need to protect our neighbors in their homes with the desire to maintain the artistic heritage of our neighborhood. This law addresses one of the most pressing deficiencies brought to light in the wake of the ill-conceived rezoning of SoHo and NoHo, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the City Council to ensure that our neighbors are secure in their homes and our neighborhood character is preserved.”
Senator Kavanagh said, “I am pleased that our legislation, now signed into law, will provide housing stability for residents of JLWQA units who call SoHo and NoHo home and who have contributed to the vibrancy of this neighborhood, in some cases for decades. I thank Governor Kathy Hochul for understanding the need to codify these protections, Assemblymember Deborah Glick for her partnership in crafting this law and for her many years of leadership on these issues, the Adams administration for working with us, and of course the JLWQA residents and the community advocates who supported this effort.”
Manhattan Community Board 2 Chair Jeannine Kiely, and Land Use Committee Chair Frederica Sigel said, “Manhattan Community Board 2 applauds the signing of A.9675 / S.8793. We thank Assemblymember Glick and Senator Kavanagh for listening to the community and taking this first step to protect our neighbors. We look forward to the NYC Council taking further actions in support of residents.”
Pete Davies, member of the Broadway Residents Coalition said, “Residents in SoHo & NoHo applaud Governor Hochul for taking action to protect loft owners and renters in our historic and re-purposed manufacturing buildings. Together we transformed these derelict downtown districts, making our homes & studios in units designated as Joint Living-Work Quarters for Artists, all part of the creative core of these two unique NYC neighborhoods. The important legislation from Assemblymember Glick and Senator Kavanagh enacted today offers much-needed stability and legal protections for folks and families throughout both SoHo & NoHo.”
Amit Solomon, member of the Coalition for Fairness for SoHo and NoHo’s Steering Committee said, “We applaud Assemblymember Glick and Senator Kavanagh for their leadership and decisive action in securing this legislation to protect housing stability for working families and individuals, seniors, and artists in our community. We look forward to working with our elected State and City officials to rectify the rezoning and advance genuine affordable housing policies.”