Chinatown Zoning Proposals Presented to CB3 Tonight

Members of the Chinatown Working Group will present revised zoning proposals to Community Board 3’s land use committee tonight. The coalition – representing 50 neighborhood organizations – intends to submit a comprehensive community development plan to the city in the next several months.  This summer they’ve been seeking input from all three downtown community boards (1, 2 and 3).

There’s always an interesting dynamic when the Chinatown Working Group (CWG) appears before CB3. The organization was an outgrowth of the community board’s controversial rezoning of the neighborhood in 2008, which excluded Chinatown and the Two Bridges area.

Residents Oppose New Restaurant on Canal Street

A neighborhood group on Canal Street is mobilizing to oppose a new restaurant’s quest for a liquor license, saying they don’t want to see their block become a “bar scene.” The owners of the restaurant at 1 Essex (Essex & Canal) and their detractors will go before the liquor licensing committee of Community Board 3 tomorrow night.

The committee, noting no opposition from the community, signaled its support last month for a license to sell wine only.  The application for “1 Essex” was mistakenly removed from the published agenda and then added back on shortly before the meeting began. Amy Carlson, speaking for the neighborhood group, appealed to the full board of CB3, arguing that they would have showed up to voice their opposition if they’d known the application was being considered.  CB3 District Manager Susan Stetzer says the restaurant withdrew its application and will re-apply for a full liquor license tomorrow night.

The backers of the restaurant own the Inn at Irving Place, which includes the cocktail lounge Cibar. They did not return our phone calls. But in their original application, they said the new venture will be a  family friendly restaurant emphasizing organic food (“Jewish fusion,” they called it), not a nightlife destination catering to hipsters in search of the latest hot spot. See our previous coverage here and here.