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Activist Group Blasts Chin on SPURA; Chin Responds

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Council member Margaret Chin.

Earlier today, we noted that an activist group is stepping up its ongoing war on City Council member Margaret Chin over the Seward Park Mixed-Use Development Plan. Last week, Chin urged Community Board 3’s land use committee to vote “yes” on the city’s framework for the 1.65 million square foot project. She acknowledged the community board’s reservations about the proposal due to a 60-year term on the affordable housing units. Chin and her colleague, Council member Rosie Mendez, vowed to fight for permanent affordability.

In a press advisory sent out earlier today, the Coalition to Protect Chinatown and the Lower East Side said:

Community representatives will demand that Chin retract her statement of support for the City’s pro-developer plan for SPURA at the Community Board meeting this Tuesday, and support the community’s call for: 100% low-income housing; low-cost spaces for community programs and small businesses; and jobs prioritized for the community. Chin last week exhorted the CB 3 Land Use Committee to pass the City’s plan to build luxury apartments, “affordable apartments” for those making as much as $130,000, a hotel, big-box and high-end stores. Her advocacy of this plan will accelerate the displacement of her constituents of Chinatown and the Lower East Side-primarily low-income families and small business owners.

Late this afternoon, we received the following response from Chin’s office:

Members of the ‘Coalition to the Protect the Lower East Side and Chinatown’ have grossly misrepresented my position with regards to the development of SPURA. From day one, I have unequivocally stated that increasing the number of affordable units is necessary. And again, at last week’s meeting, I clearly stated that permanence of affordable housing is one of my highest priorities. I will continue to fight for what the Community Board 3 has identified as priorities when this plan comes to the Council, but at this moment, it is imperative that this project keeps moving forward. For 45 years, these five plots of land have sat vacant on the Lower East Side. Community Board members and residents have spent countless hours over the last three years trying to find a way to get this project moving. The Coalition is seeking to derail this process by spreading misinformation. This type of campaign by the Coalition is unhelpful, and in the end it will diminish the community’s voice and influence in this process. Our goal is to make sure that the development of SPURA follows the guidelines crafted by the community board and that the community remains involved long after ULURP.

The coalition was not among the many community groups participating in the Seward Park planning process. In fact the organization and CB3 have been at odds for several years. Last year, the Coalition joined other groups in opposing the creation of the Chinatown BID, which Chin backed.

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  1. This is outrageous.  McWater just sold Nice Guy Eddies, so he is cashing in all his chips and doesn’t really care anymore, just trying to fatten his nest egg.  Dominic Pisciotta is also looking to cash in as he owns a co-op in Seward Park, and is hiding behind a new name “Berg”.  Perhaps the worst of the bunch are Chin and Mendez, who are selling out the LES as there is no way they will get the City to abide by CB 3 guidelines when this gets to the City Council.  They are both powerless and unless Quinn sticks her nose in and gets the City to back-off then we get screwed.  All of the issues CB 3 cared most about have been taken out by the City.  It’s bad enough they want to move the market, but now no protection for the vendors.  I think McWater said that the only way the vendors would get screwed if the City moved the market was over his dead body, well so much for that promise.  LESers unite and turn-out to force CB 3 to vote down SPURA.

  2.   I get sick to my stomach when I read how you people want to keep this empty for all these shallow,off the cuff reasons. This is going to happen and all we can do is try and steer the city towards development that would benefit everyone.  Am I happy with it all, NO but I’m damn sure happier than those lots with all the trucks and rats, depressing this area for almost 50 years! Quinn forget about that Union Thug loving, self centered will do and say anything to be mayor LIAR!
      Lets not try to derail this, rather constructively have the input the city needs and will take heed to. Sounds like a dream rather than a possibility, but if we continue to put 100% in and not look to people such as Quinn who only has her best interest in mind we will get a lot more accomplished in my eyes.

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