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East Villagers galvanize to protect neighborhood mom-and-pop shops

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Local residents and business owners are proposing a special district

Via Bruce Monroe/Flickr

Fearing the influx of big chain stores, East Villagers are galvanizing to create a special zoning district that will protect mom-and-pop stores in the neighborhood, DNAinfo reports.

Local residents and business owners have been campaigning for these protections for some time now, but this latest push is now being taken up by the local community board. On Wednesday evening, Community Board 3 will host a forum to solicit public feedback on this special district [PDF!] which will concern an area bounded by East 14th Street, Houston Street, Second Avenue, and Avenue D; and on St. Marks Place between Second and Third Avenues.

Some of the suggestions in this proposal include limiting the size of stores to 2,500 square feet, and not allowing smaller storefronts to combine to make a larger space. This effort has been in large part spurred by the recent retail developments in the neighborhood. Both Target and Trader Joe’s plan to open stores bigger than 22,000 square feet on East 14th Street, and Mayor Bill de Blasio is backing the creation of a massive Tech Hub in Union Square (plans to rezone that particular area are also underway).

Following the forum on Wednesday, the community board will create a formal proposal and submit it to the city’s Department of City Planning. The board is expecting to do this before the year’s end, according to DNAinfo.