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The CWG is a community-led rezoning plan that protects the Chinatown & Lower East Side neighborhood from  over-development and displacement by setting rules on how land can be used. The CWG: 

  • limits the height of new buildings

  • requires all housing built on NYCHA land be affordable to low-income residents

  • requires significantly more housing to be truly affordable to the community by using the local income level to determine the rent of new units

  • limits the number of hotels that can be built in the area




  • The CWG Plan curtails the "domino effect" of displacement that occurs as a result of over-development: large scale luxury towers, hotels and chain stores raise property values, which leads to real estate tax increases and rent hikes on residents and small businesses, pushing them out, and promoting the continued speculation of land and buildings

  • By limiting the height and income eligibility of new development, it dis-incentivizes wealthy developers from coming into the neighborhood because they simply won't be able to make that much money in the long run

  • By putting a plug on how much and what type of development can happen, the CWG Plan protects all parts of the neighborhood from displacement



The Chinatown Working Group commissioned the Pratt Center for Community Development to create the Chinatown Working Group Plan. The study involved extensive community participation and was finished in 2014. The Chinatown Working Group plan was developed in response to Chinatown and the Lower East Side being left out of the East Village Rezoning Plan, which also  emphasized height limits.


The Plan for Chinatown and Surrounding Areas is both a celebration of New York City’s rich immigrant history and the contributions that waves of immigrants have made and continue to make to New York City’s economy and culture, and a strategy for preserving one of the last remaining areas of affordability in a borough that is becoming increasingly unaffordable for most New York City residents.


Encroaching, speculative market-rate development, primarily consisting of hotels and luxury condominiums, and rising property values threaten the loss of this vibrant, mixed-use, affordable urban environment and of the low- and moderate-income residents, small businesses, and workers that have inhabited and worked in these neighborhoods for generations. While development and growth are important for the city as a whole, the wave of gentrification that is consuming many older neighborhoods, particularly in Manhattan, has severe implications for the city in terms of affordability, displacement and increasing economic segregation.


Lower East Side Organizing Neighbors (LESON) is a group of local leaders organizing and inspiring the residents of the Lower East Side and its surrounding areas at large to challenge the many issues directly and adversely impacting the current and future preservation of their homes, businesses, community organizations, clinics, senior centers, schools, public services, and overall quality of life.


The LESON Plan demands a full and genuine study of the environmental impacts of the four approved megatowers on the Two Bridges waterfront.  LESON wants State and City agencies including Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) involved, so that they can monitor a real, transparent and legitimate study.  This process will illuminate the megatowers’ massive impact on people and the environment in the immediate community of Two Bridges waterfront.



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