For the past several years, a coalition known as the Chinatown Working Group has been trying to come up with a long-range plan for the neighborhood. This month, they’re taking a set of new proposals to local community boards for review.
The Chinatown Working Group, a community coalition, is looking for a planning consultant. The person hired will help in the “preparation of a planning proposal that is focused on the work of its Cultural, Affordability, Preservation & Zoning and Economic Development committees.” The organization received a grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to pay for the project. University Settlement is acting as the “fiscal conduit” for the grant. You can find out more information here.
It should be an interesting evening at Community Board 3’s land use committee meeting tonight. Representatives of the Chinatown Working Group (CWG) will detail their proposals for moving forward on a potential rezoning of the neighborhood. Among their ideas: reassessing the sweeping rezoning of the Lower East Side undertaken by CB3 in 2008 and pushing for more affordable housing on the Seward Park redevelopment site (see above).
Members of the Chinatown Working Group (CWG) will try, once again, tonight to elect new leaders and vote on other key issues. Last month, the community planning organization met but accomplished very little, since they couldn’t muster a quorum. The CWG hopes to elect new co-chiars, replacing Gigi Li and Mae Lee, who have been serving in an interim capacity since last fall.
CAAAV, a neighborhood advocacy organization and CWG member, held a news conference yesterday in Sara D. Roosevelt Park. They announced that representatives from three residential buildings (11 Allen, 197 Madison and 61 Delancey) would be joining the Chinatown Working Group. In April, the CWG passed new rules making it easier for LES/Chinatown buildings to meet membership requirements.
Last fall, the Chinatown Working Group (CWG) began a top-to-bottom re-assessment of its governing structure, an exercise designed to make the community-based organization more democratic. This week, that process came to an end, as the organization approved governance tweaks.
The new system is meant to give leadership responsibilties to a wider variety of members. In the past, some participants felt the CWG’s two co-chairs ended up doing the bulk of the work and controlling the agenda. But another proposal, aimed at proportional representation, went nowhere Monday night, in a session that ended in sniping and ill-will.
Note: an original version of this story erroneously stated that the Coalition plan would mandate 100% affordable housing in Chinatown and the LES. The proposal does call for 100% affordable housing in specific areas, such as the Seward Park development site. But it also allows developers to receive density bonuses, if the community agrees and at least 60% of the housing is affordable.
The Chinatown Working Group (CWG), a community planning organization, is locked in a seemingly endless debate about how to govern itself. But that hasn’t kept CWG members from developing their own proposals to deal with the thorny issue of affordable housing in Chinatown and beyond.
Back in December, we reported on a new zoning study conducted on behalf of the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, a non-profit housing developer and advocacy group. This week, another CWG player, the Coalition to Protect Chinatown and the Lower East Side, took its turn.
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