Step 3: Preparation of Land Use and Environmental Applications

Preparation of Land Use and Environmental Applications

Certain apartments and lofts in the SoHo and NoHo neighborhoods of Manhattan have a special zoning use classification called Joint Living Work Quarters for Artists (JLWQA). The JLWQA provisions in the zoning resolution (ZR) were created in the 1970s to allow certain artists certified by the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) to live and work in the manufacturing districts of SoHo and NoHo (M1-5A and M1-5B), where residential use was prohibited.

Upon the adoption of the Special SoHo-NoHo Mixed Use District (SNX) on December 15, 2021, the former manufacturing districts were changed to mixed-use districts that allow unrestricted residential use alongside JLWQA use (or “JLWQAs”). New regulations in the SNX do not alter the status of any existing JLWQAs, which may continue to exist subject to the same occupancy restrictions in place prior to the 2021 zoning change. In addition, the SNX provides a voluntary non-discretionary pathway for those wishing to convert JLWQA to unrestricted residential use. Such conversion is facilitated through an administrative process that begins with an application to the Department of City Planning (DCP) as detailed below.

Program Overview
For those wishing to utilize the optional pathway to convert JLWQA to unrestricted residential use, an application may be submitted to DCP for an administrative approval by the Chairperson of the City Planning Commission (“Chairperson Certification”). The requirements of this particular City Planning Commission Chairperson Certification are laid out in Section 143-13 of the Zoning Resolution and are described below.

  1. A one-time contribution to the SoHo/NoHo Arts Fund. (For the 2021 fiscal year, the contribution rate is $100 per square foot of converted floor area. The rate will be adjusted annually with inflation per the Consumer Price Index.)
  2. Execution and recordation of a Notice of Certification against the zoning lot. (Applicants will be provided with a template during the application process.)

    City Planning Commission Chairperson Certification is a non-discretionary action taken by the City Planning Commission’s Chairperson, informing the Department of Buildings that a development, enlargement, or conversion complies with conditions set forth in the Zoning Resolution.

    The SoHo/NoHo Arts Fund, overseen by DCLA, will provide programmatic or facilities-related grants to artists, arts collectives and nonprofit organizations to promote the public presence of the arts in SoHo, NoHo and immediately surrounding Lower Manhattan neighborhoods south of 14th Street.

Program Eligibility
This City Planning Commission Chairperson Certification is designed to meet a wide range of conversion needs. It may be used to convert a single unit or multiple units within a building from JLWQA to unrestricted residential use. Unconverted units within the building will remain JLWQA and subject to the same occupancy restrictions in place prior to the 2021 zoning change. Units covered by the Loft Law (Article 7C of the Multiple Dwelling Law) are not subject to ZR Section 143-13 or the Arts Fund contribution.

Application process
The application process follows the general outline below. Detailed guidance on the application will be provided during the application process.

Chart with text reading Rquest informational Meeting, Prepare and Submit Land Use Application, Receive City Planning Commission Chairperson Approval

Contact Info
If you are unsure whether your property is eligible or have questions about the program, please contact the DCP Manhattan Office at

Additional Resources
More information about the history and purpose of the SoHo/NoHo Arts Fund program is available on the SoHo/NoHo Neighborhood Plan webpage and in this PDF Documentslideshow.

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