“Dear Dwellers:” Community Board 3’s Letter to Suspended Neighborhood Group
There’s a lot of interest in CB 3’s decision to suspend the LES Dwellers neighborhood group for three months. Here’s the full text of the letter sent by Chairperson Gigi Li to the Dwellers on October 1.
On behalf of Community Board 3, I am writing to inform you that the Board has decided to suspend the LES Dwellers of block association status for three months effective October 1, 2013 through December 31, 2013. CB 3 has been working with LES Dwellers to best represent the interests of our community. But, we find that the Dwellers have not been working with CB 3. It appears that the group has been working as its own entity – contacting and communicating with applicants, attempting to impact the CB agenda without communicating with the CB, investigating and submitting materials to the SLA without informing the CB (or cc’ing the CB) so that we have best information possible in a timely manner to represent the community.
The CB must be perceived as fair and trustworthy by all. In order to be effective, the CB must also work within the parameters of ABC law to best advocate for the community. The CB has developed strategies and methods of participating in the SLA process that have been proven over time to best help our community. The LES Dweller’s main reason for not working with the CB seems to be that they do not believe the office is effective in dealing with complaints. The office is certainly overburdened and not perfect, but we must find a way to work together and communicate. If you could not do this and did not feel the office was adequate, the proper response should have been to report the situation to the Board Chair, not become a “shadow community board.”
The CB is the agency that makes recommendations to the SLA and must do so in the manner it believes is the most effective. CB 3 holds all block associations to the same standard of transparency. The CB Guidelines were developed precisely to prevent the reoccurrence of the situation with 106 Rivington where another Block Association came to the CB without opportunity for input from people who lived on the impacted block, specifically you and your neighbors. Over the past several months, we have become concerned about the manner in which the LES Dwellers interacts with applicants, the community board, and the State Liquor Authority.
To give some examples of concerns: (1) Sending two strongly worded resolutions to applicants to withdraw from the community board agenda without consulting with and notifying the community board; (2) Individual members meeting with applicants or decision-making with Dwellers on behalf of neighborhood residents in lieu of public meetings; (3) Negotiating with applicants outside of the LES Dweller self-identified area; (4) Abandoning agreed upon strategy on 500 foot hearing with community board staff.
During the next three months, LES Dweller members can continue to be involved in SLA-issues as concerned residents. We value the work that you do, but feel very strongly that all block associations should be held to the same standard and rules.
Note: the formatting of this letter has been changed but all of the text from the original document has been retained.