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Two Bridges Environmental Review, Chinatown Rezoning on Tonight’s CB3 Agenda

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One Manhattan Square towers over the Manhattan Bridge. Photo by Joel Raskin.
One Manhattan Square towers over the Manhattan Bridge. Photo by Joel Raskin.

The future of Chinatown and the Two Bridges area will be back on the agenda when Community Board 3’s land use committee meets tonight.

The panel will be crafting a response to the Draft Scope of Work recently published by the Department of City Planning for the upcoming Two Bridges environmental review. That environmental assessment will study the impact of three large-scale residential towers planned along the East River, from Pike Slip to Clinton Street. A hearing on the draft scope was originally scheduled for the end of the month, but at the request of local elected officials, it will now be held May 25. Local residents have many concerns about the projects, from the potential displacement of low-income tenants, to the loss of light and air, strains on the public transportation system and the impact on crowded public schools and medical facilities.

Two related discussions will take place this evening. The land use committee will be asked to support Extell Development’s application for a tax abatement at One Manhattan Square, the 80-story tower now under construction at 250 South St.. The project includes about 200 units of affordable housing in a separate building. The 421-a application was set in motion before the program expired. While the community board has little influence over the application, committee members are sure to ask the developers pointed questions about the unpopular project. Among them: the status of a long-promised replacement for the Pathmark Grocery store, a casualty of the luxury tower.

The panel tonight will also resume talks about a potential rezoning of Chinatown, a hugely contentious topic. The city previously agreed to entertain a limited rezoning, though some community members have rejected a piecemeal approach.

Finally, the committee will continue a conversation about the fate of 11 affordable condominium units at 242 Broome St., part of the Essex Crossing project. Last month, board members were dismayed to learn that these apartments were not guaranteed permanent affordability. Discussions have been taking place with city officials and the development team about the issue. Tonight, some of the questions they previously asked will be answered.

Tonight’s meeting takes place at 6:30 p.m. at University Settlement, 273 Bowery.

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