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Chin: 20% of Chinatown Property Owners Oppose BID

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For the past several months, supporters and opponents of the Chinatown Business Improvement District have argued bitterly about whether businesses, property owners and residents see a need for the proposed organization. As a City Council vote on the BID draws near, that dispute is growing even more heated.

Earlier this month, the coalition fighting against the business improvement district sent a letter to City Council members asserting that a record number of objection forms had been filed at City Hall against the proposal. Their letter stated, “Over five hundred properties in the proposed BID object to the formation of a Chinatown BID.”

Now City Councilwoman Margaret Chin, a key BID backer, has released the final numbers. According to her office, 562 objections were received from 388 property owners (or 20% of building owners). Ninety of the objection forms were received from residents, who would be assessed $1/year if the district is created. The objections are linked to properties representing 19% of the assessed land value in the BID catchment area.

In presentations before three downtown community boards last year, BID supporters said about half of the property owners within the proposed district had returned ballots and, of those responding, 97%, or about 550 property owners,  were in favor.

The official threshold for approving a BID proposal is 51%, but city and state officials generally like to see widespread support in a community before approving a new business district.  A City Council vote has not yet been scheduled.

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  1. Let’s look at the facts:   The pro-BID people used unverified survey results to back their data.   Greater than 75% of those property owners that survey was sent to did not even respond!  The CPLDC is using dubious data from a 23% response to their survey (yes, less than a quarter)!!  And, this data is AT BEST dubious and unsubstantiated.  
    It has been noted that the CPLDC’s leader even encouraged pro-BID survey people to target property owners that would be least affected by a business improvement district… so it is impossible to rely on any of this pro-BID data.

    By contrast, in a VERY limited amount of time, a RECORD HIGH number of VERIFIED, NOTARIZED OBJECTIONS were filed with the City Clerk by BID opponents.  This data is REAL, SUBSTANTIATED AND VERIFIED and it was gathered in just weeks!!

    What data would you prefer to make a judgement call here?    Dubious survery data from less than a 1/4 of respondents, or, VERIFIED and NOTARIZED Objections filed with the CIty Clerk in record numbers?     The answer is obvious:   Chinatown does not want a BID!!

  2. Sheesh.  If ever there were a neighborhood in NYC to NEED a BID it would be Chinatown!
    Residents will be assessed $1.00 a year?  And that’s an issue?
    And business owners will contribute some $$$ for improvements which are sorely needed in this area and that’s an issue for them?

    Chinatown is, if not the filthiest, one of the filthiest nabes in Manhattan.  It smells bad, has some sort of mystery grease seemingly permanently embedded in it’s sidewalks (probably as a result of storeowners not being familiar with the use of a broom, bucket & soap), and is littered with trash.

    It is there for all to see.  Just visit once and you’ll get it.
    I walk through it twice a day, on the way to work and then the return trip home.
    If there were some way for me to get to work and avoid this trip on foot through Chinatown I would gladly take that alternative.

  3. What he said. It’s not, despite some people’s best efforts, a ghetto. It’s a neighborhood and deserves to be treated with respect, care, and an aesthetic that at least excludes filthy sidewalks.

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