Thursday, May 08, 2008

CB3's excuses for excluding Chinatown and the Bowery from the rezoning

The EV/LES rezoning, by prohibiting huge hotels in the protected area, will push hotel development into the Bowery and Chinatown. Community Board 3 has tried to defend the exclusion with a series of excuses:

1) 'Protecting the EV/LES does not threaten to push development into the unprotected Bowery and Chinatown.'

Yes it does. We saw it in Williamsburg.
As soon as their rezoning was implemented, developments sprang up just outside the periphery of the rezoning. Hotels are already appearing along the Bowery. This selective rezoning will accelerate a trend we can already see.

2) 'Wherever the boundary of a rezoning is drawn, there will be a vulnerable periphery, so a line must be drawn somewhere.'

False. The Bowery/Chinatown C6 zones of Community District 3 have clear, undevelopable boundaries:
Little Italy to the west of the Bowery is protected by a special zoning district. The Tombs and huge court houses of Foley Square to the west of Chinatown are not residential and in no danger of development. Neither are the housing projects / residential zones by the river.

3) 'Chinatown lies partly in CB2. CB3 couldn't rezone just a part of Chinatown.'

CB3 itself proved this false. Chrystie Street is a part of Chinatown and CB3 did include Chrystie Street in their plan. If the city can rezone this one street of Chinatown, then it can rezone Baxter to Essex/East Broadway as well.

'DCP won't zone single sides of streets and only the east side of the Bowery lies in CB3.'

DCP rezones single sides of streets all the time. In fact, they protectively rezoned the west side of Bowery in CB2. Why not the east side in CB3?

5) 'Chinatown was left out because the rezoning would have been too large with Chinatown included.'

a) this rezoning is not the largest rezoning DCP has undertaken, and
b) the board never even considered rezoning Chinatown when they were devising this plan.

I expect rank and file community board members to question the validity and motive of these excuses and reject them.

We know the city wants to displace low-income communities from Manhattan. The community board, representing the community, is charged with protecting those communities. There's leverage now, while DCP seeks approval for its plan.

I do not speak for the people of Chinatown or for anyone but myself in this community. Others can speak for themselves. If you want to hear what others think of the rezoning, go to the Town Hall. I can't attend that night, so I'm giving you my two cents here.

Monday, May 12, 6:30pm,
Public School 20,
166 Essex Street
(btwn Houston & Stanton)

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