Fake petition?

To The Editor:
Re “Group Pushes to Rezone SoHo” (news article, June 9):

The stated purpose of the meeting was an open forum to listen to the community regarding the possibility of implementing changes to the Artist’s Certification Program and the zoning. However, a petition, which masqueraded as a sign-in sheet, demanded that the government and its agencies rezone SoHo.

The issue of Artist Certification is a smoke screen for changing our zoning and opening SoHo and NoHo up for further large-scale retail and development. This is supported by proponents of the proposed SoHo Business Improvement District objected to by the Community Board and many SoHo residents and businesses. There are other solutions. For example, it was suggested by one community architect and resident that the issue of Artist Certification and illegal ground floor use could be solved by grandfathering current illegal spaces, allowing owners and proprietors to legally sell and renovate their spaces.

It is the current zoning that allows SoHo to retain the qualities of the historic district by preventing Broadway style retail from being permitted on every block in the neighborhood. The quality of life on many of our streets would be permanently changed as new tourist and entertainment oriented uses spread, uncontrolled, throughout the district. Changing the zoning is the real agenda of the powerful real estate interests that are looking to take control of the SoHo community.
Susan Fortgang