Group to Try One More Time to Derail East Village Downzoning

At 6 tonight, the Coalition to Protect Chinatown and the Lower East Side plans to rally against what now appears to be the inevitable rezoning of the East Village just to the north.

The group has labeled the rezoning a "racist" plan to limit building heights and essentially abolish the community benefits incentive in 110 blocks of the East Village and Lower East Side. Last week, the Department of City Planning certified the proposal, giving Community Board 3 60 days to review it before it goes to the borough president and the City Council. The Coalition wants to send the rezoning plan back to the drawing board to include the area south of Delancey Street and East of Avenue D.

The Coalition fears that, as it stands now, the rezoning will displace low-income residents of Chinatown and the Lower East Side, and "actively lure developers to Chrystie, Delancey, Ave. D with height bonuses and tax breaks," said a press release. "In effect, this plan will create a wall of luxury high-rises around Chinatown and the Lower East Side, dividing both communities in half and pitting one community against another."

Almost a dozen community groups that claim they have been excluded from the public process surrounding the rezoning are part of the coalition. Organizers expect thousands to turn out at P.S. 20 on Essex Street tonight.

Since the Department of City Planning has the endorsement of CB3, however, the odds are not in Coalition’s favor.