Another bit of information in preparation for tomorrow’s mega-hearing at the City Planning Commission: Asian-Americans for Equality, an advocacy organization located near the Chinatown/Lower East Side border, has come out in favor of DCP’s proposed rezoning of the East Village and Lower East Side. Their position statement calls the rezoning, “a positive step in stemming the rampant gentrification and out-of-context, luxury development in our mixed-income neighborhood,” and includes a petition calling for a similar process for Chinatown.

In response to groups, such as the Coalition to Protect Chinatown, that claim the rezoning is racist, AAFE has some harsh words. This PDF, titled “East Village/LES Rezoning: Responding to Myths” counters: “The accusations of racism not only oversimplifies and throws a smoke screen over the real issues of neighborhood preservation, it polarizes against each other the shared vested interests of two allied neighborhoods with long historical ties. The loosely-substantiated claims of racism amount to dangerous race-baiting, and is an impediment to the common goal of affordable housing preservation for our low-income residents in Lower Manhattan.”

Tomorrow’s hearing is sure to be an emotionally-charged event. The East Village/LES rezoning is the first item on the agenda, and doors open at NYU’s Tishman Auditorium at 8:30am for speaker sign-up.

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