Dear New York City Dept. of City Planning:

Open Statement to NYC Department of City Planning

We are outraged and appalled that our elected and appointed officials are railroading through a plan to split up the Chinatown Working Group (CWG) Rezoning Plan for Chinatown and its Surrounding Areas.

As you know, CWG was created by the city nearly 8 years ago due to the public outcry and dissent against the discriminatory East Village rezoning that left vast areas of the Lower East Side and Chinatown vulnerable to luxury development and displacement. For years, representatives for Council Member Margaret Chin, members of CB3 and specifically CB3’s Land Use, Zoning, Public & Private Housing Committee took part in this city-sponsored vehicle, CWG, to create a 197c rezoning plan with extensive community input and engagement. Throughout this time, the community–Chinese, Latino, African American and Caucasian constituents–have voiced their needs and concerns, and worked together with Community Boards 1, 2 and 3 to reach a comprehensive, inclusive rezoning plan. This plan has been reviewed, voted on and approved by the members of CWG, as well as CB3.

Now, after years of hard work and input by tens of thousands of community members, DCP is dismissing CWG as nothing but advisory. Worst of all, this carving up of our community is continuing a legacy of discrimination and racist exclusion of the Lower East Side, pitting people of color against each other to fight for crumbs. We cannot wait another 8 years, even another 2 years for the city to implement this rezoning plan.

The CB3 committee meeting on Thursday, September 29th in which DCP is presenting a plan for Chinatown is a shameful display of phony democracy. The decision has already been made by the City to split up the full CWG rezoning plan and move forward with a small part of Chinatown. It is shameful of the City to try and buy off a few Chinese while leaving the African American and Latino community and even parts of the Chinese community at the mercy of rampant luxury development. We reject this sham of a democracy. The people of this community have voiced their needs time and again for equal protection. While the CWG rezoning plan has gone through many compromises, we will NOT compromise to be unequal.

We demand DCP and city elected officials immediately move forward with the full CWG rezoning plan, as it was approved by CWG.

The Coalition to Protect Chinatown & the Lower East Side

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