Chinatown activist groups are opposing the downzoning of the East Village and Lower East Side, fearing that the changes will push high-rise development into their neighborhood instead. But they don’t seem to have any interest in a rezoning of their own. “It would be great to rezone Chinatown and the Bowery,” says Barden Prisant, chairman of Community Board 3’s housing committee, who worked on the East Village plan. “I said to them, Let’s start now. And there was zero response.” Josephine Lee of the Coalition to Protect Chinatown and the Lower East Side explains that waiting to be downzoned will do more harm than good. “We don’t want another rezoning; we just want to stop this one,” she says. “By the time a separate plan happens, the community will be displaced. We are demanding that this plan be stopped immediately, first and foremost.”
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