Local Group Releases Retail Report, Advocates For Zoning to Curb Chain Stores

Photo: EVCC.

Photo: EVCC.

We told you yesterday that Community Board 3 is gradually moving toward asking the city’s Department of Planning to look into creating a Special Purpose District to bolster independent business on the Lower East Side. The idea would be to restrict certain types of businesses, such as chain stores, in the name of preserving neighborhood character. A local non-profit, the East Village Community Coalition (EVCC), recently published a report titled,  “Preserving Local, Independent Retail: Recommendations for Formula Retail Zoning in the East Village.” The group briefed CB3’s economic development committee several weeks ago on its findings.

Last night, EVCC put out a press statement officially announcing the report’s release:

The report analyzes the growing presence of chain stores, proposing a framework for limiting the expansion of formula retail in the lower Manhattan neighborhood. The East Village is known for its colorful history of immigration, art, music, community advocacy and grassroots movements. Today the East Village is one of New York’s most diverse neighborhoods, made up of residents from a variety of backgrounds and economic means, and a mixture of small businesses that serve local and visitor needs. The number of chain stores in the East Village has risen markedly in recent years. These stores are changing the landscape of the neighborhood by altering the shopping choices from independent to mass market retailers. The EVCC had determined that the presence of chain businesses can be detrimental to community character and local economy… Three possible methods of formula retail zoning are proposed within the report. These options — aimed at informing decisions by East Village policy makers — have been crafted using case studies, legal suggestions and preexisting zoning frameworks from other parts of the country.

As we indicated yesterday, CB3’s economic development committee is leaning towards asking the city to study the entire community district, which includes the East Village, the Lower East Side (below East Houston Street) and most of Chinatown. You can click here to read the entire report. EVCC will be hosting a roundtable discussion June 24, 6-8 p.m. at Downtown Art, 61 East 4th St.