We finally got our hour with the Department of City Planning. Actually, almost three hours around the table to feel them out on their plans for Chinatown and the Bowery.
They have none. Pointing out that hotel development is rolling down the Bowery and invading historic Chinatown, we still got no response. Let it roll. That's their plan. "Development is necessary to provide housing for New Yorkers."
How do hotels provide housing for New Yorkers? Don't try to make sense of their explanations. There is none. They see their role as twofold: clear the way for development and BS the public about it.
We did get details from them that belie what we've been told by the Community Board:
1. DCP is fiercely, stubbornly committed to implementing this rezoning. Remember Community Board 3 saying, "We mustn't question this plan or DCP will walk away from it. No dissent! No criticism! Accept immediately"? Crap. There was never a chance that DCP would walk away from this plan. They want this plan. In particular, they want the added bulk on Houston, Delancey, Chrystie and D.
2. In all this process of rezoning the EV and LES, CB3 never once asked to rezone Chinatown. Never.
3. All that talk of DCP not wanting to rezone just the one side of the Bowery that lies in CB3 -- total crap. Not a word of truth. Just the CB making excuses for DCP so that the community voices of protest would just go away.
DCP won't rezone the Bowery because it wants to encourage hotel development there, existing communities be damned. DCP is, after all, out to maximize city revenue, real estate taxes, business revenue. People currently residing in the neighborhood play no role in their plans. It's the Department of City *Development* Planning, not community planning.
This whole process would have been so much more civil if the CB hadn't been so defensive about this plan. As it is, we've had to struggle not only with DCP but with community board defensiveness as well.