Turf war brews between Chinatown and Soho

May 21, 2010 12:15PM

Sean Sweeney

The Chinatown Working Group’s decision to consider rezoning part of the historic area around Canal, Centre, and Lafayette streets, has come under fire from the Soho Alliance community group, according to the Downtown Express. “Just because a Chinese person owns a business there, doesn’t mean it’s Chinatown,” said Sean Sweeney, director of the Soho group. Parts of the contested streets were recently designated for inclusion in the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s extension of the Soho Cast-Iron Historic District, while other areas stretch beyond Soho. According to Sweeney, residents have worked hard over the years, landmarking the neighborhood and making selective zoning modifications. “If Soho zoning’s going to change, it’s got to come from inside the community,” he said. Adding fuel to the fire, a planned Chinatown Business Improvement District would also include part of the historic district extension area, as well as some blocks along Canal Street. But if Sweeney has his way, he has made it clear that the Chinatown BID will never end up with a piece of Soho, and that Soho will win the fight, if it comes to that. [Downtown Express]