David McWater, a high-profile and controversial member of Community Board 3, plans to step down.
According to the Villager, he intends to make the announcement at the beginning of tonight’s full board meeting at P.S. 20. Last week, McWater became angered during a meeting of CB3’s liquor licensing committee and confronted a member of the LES Dwellers neighborhood group, coming within inches of her face during a tense confrontation. A video of the episode was posted online; community board leadership has been weighing how to handle the situation.
“I’m just too tired, too frazzled and don’t have the time that I used to,” he told the newspaper. “(Serving on the board) is very time-consuming and it’s very emotionally debilitating.” The story also suggested there are questions about whether McWater’s legal residency is actually in New Jersey (he owns a house there). Board members are required to live in New York City.
McWater owns three neighborhood bars, Doc Holiday’s, Milano’s and the Library. Over the years, he’s come under fire for strongly advocating for the rights of bar owners, as a member of the community board’s State Liquor Authority Committee. McWater served as chairman of CB3 for four years. until June of 2008. He has played critical roles in two major CB3 initiatives — the 2008 rezoning of 111 blocks of the LES and the East Village and the Seward Park development plan. Just last week, in announcing developers for the project, city officials praised McWater, the co-chair of the board’s land use committee, for his leadership on SPURA.
In the Villager, McWater said, “I’ve done more than any community board member in the history of New York City… The community owes me a debt.”