City sued over East Village rezoning

February 05, 2009 11:28AM

A coalition of community groups accused the Department of City Planning and Mayor Michael Bloomberg in a lawsuit of failing to follow environmental impact review procedures during the development of the East Village/Lower East Side Rezoning, a member of the group said.

Josephine Lee, a staff organizer with the Chinese Staff and Workers’ Association and a member of the coalition, said the city did not consider the impact the rezoning would have on minority communities in and bordering the rezoned district.

The zoning change, which was approved by the City Council on November 19, increased density on some major streets and limited the heights of buildings to 120 feet on main streets and 80 feet on side streets.

The plaintiffs in the suit, filed Wednesday in Manhattan State Supreme Court, are the Chinese Staff and Workers’ Association, National Mobilization Against Sweatshops, Action by the Lower East Side, Chinese Restaurant Alliance and five individuals. They plan to announced the lawsuit at a press conference in front of City Hall this afternoon.

The city did complete an environmental impact statement before the rezoning was approved and has said the rezoning was developed to maintain the character of local neighborhoods while also allowing moderate development and the creation of affordable housing. TRD