Organizational meeting on downzoning and landmarking on the Lower East Side
By David Katz
People, politicians and community organizations who have been active in zoning and landmarking issues on the Lower East Side have been invited to an educational forum at the Clayton Gallery, 161 Essex St., on Mon., June 20 at 6 p.m.
This will not be a rally, emphasized organizer and gallery owner Clayton Patterson. It is strictly an informational meeting in which groups involved in the struggle to preserve our communities will speak, and in which the politicians who have shown up at their rallies will also be invited to comment, and state what they think can be done about the situation.
Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, which is spearheading the movement for downzoning the Far West Village to prevent out-of-scale construction from destroying the character of the neighborhood, will speak about the lessons learned there, and how they can be applied to the East Village. Richard Kusack, of The Committee for Zoning Inaction, will address Trojan horse zoning, the bait-and-switch process by which developers misuse or misrepresent their projects as community facilities and dormitories in order to erect hotels and luxury housing; also invited are representatives from L.O.C.O; the Ludlow-Orchard Community Organization, who have been involved in the fight against the construction of a 24-story luxury hotel directly opposite a proposed 15-story luxury condominium on Orchard St. between Houston and Stanton Sts.; the East Village Community Coalition, involved in the fight to preserve St. Brigids church and annex on Avenue B and the old P.S. 64 on E. Ninth St.; and representatives from 4 E. Third St., 47 East Third St. and 81 E. Third St., sites of recent protests over such issues as overdevelopment and construction not conforming with Buildings Department guidelines.
Politicians invited include Councilmember and candidate for Manhattan borough president Margarita Lopez, East Village Democratic District Leader Rosie Mendez, who is running for Lopezs term-limited council seat in November; Brian Kavanagh, who is running against Mendez for the same seat; State Assemblymember Scott Stringer, also a candidate for borough president; and Jack Lester, City Council candidate and attorney for The Committee for Zoning Inaction, who is handling their lawsuit against the Board of Standards and over 81 E. Third St.
The community is invited to attend what is hoped to be a nonconfrontational and informative evening on a topic central to the future of Lower Manhattan.