Soho is in a snit over big stores, and Mayor de Blasio’s administration is suddenly rolling over to accommodate the area’s voters.
As The Post’s Melissa Klein reported, the NYC Department of Buildings is peppering certain large Soho retailers with violations of the local manufacturing zoning code, which does not allow pure apparel stores of more than 10,000 square feet.
But under the head-scratching rules, items such as sporting goods, stationery, hardware, shoes, furniture and textiles are permitted. And if a store created separate women’s, men’s and pet areas, for instance, each could be up to 10,000 square feet, explained one source.
This sudden municipal flurry of fines comes after some 40 years of looking the other way and allowing retail to thrive in Soho, turning it from a filthy artist enclave to a worldwide fashion and shopping destination — albeit with many gridlocked streets and sidewalks.
In March, Stephen Meringoff pleaded his case in March to the local community board, hoping to get a special permit to turn his 45,000-square-foot 462 Broadway into one big store. He was roundly dissed.
But at an April quality-of-life meeting hosted by the SoHo Broadway Initiative, Aurora Capital’s Jared Epstein, who is on the organization’s board of directors, said the overwhelming issue was the numerous street vendors.
Only City Councilwoman Margaret Chin and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer — who has already restricted Upper West Side stores through frontage requirements — mentioned the size of stores as being an issue.
SoHo Broadway Business Improvement District Executive Director Mark Dicus said, “Our efforts are on making live-work work for those who live, work and visit the area.”
The BID is examining how the zoning currently functions along Broadway, with an eye on creating a resource, he said.
The politicians and the local voters — some of whom have lived there through the area’s transformation, others who came in…