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More on the NIMBY War Against Pop-Ups, Sidewalk Cafes

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Yesterday, we mentioned that tomorrow's Community Board 2 meeting will be a doozy because the Soho locals are heated up about two major issues: the liquor license for chef John Fraser's temporary restaurant What Happens When and the Department of Transportation's plan to add temporary sidewalk cafes (actually they're in the street not on the sidewalk) to residential streets.

Today, the Post talks to some of those neighbors who will be leading the charge and holding the NIMBY placards. Here's a quote from a 30 year-old resident who first got into neighborhood activism during the fight against Nolita's Shake Shack last year: "The pop-up restaurant trend seems to me to be slickly packaged sedentary raves or street-level glass-front speakeasies — with food...I think it’s a dangerous trend...Now that I understand fire codes and certificates of occupancy and stuff like that, you realize, God forbid something happens...Are they really up to code?" Meanwhile, the bellicose Soho Alliance explains in a letter to supporters why they are against these pop-up sidewalk cafes:

Although sidewalk cafes may be charming amenities on wide commercial boulevards, they are incompatible with residential use, due to noise, people congregating in front of residences, garbage, vermin, etc. The City wisely restricts them to commercial districts.

Although 75 residents from SoHo, NoHo, Little Italy and Greenwich Village unconditionally opposed the DOT proposal, the Transportation Committee refused to even address their concerns. Instead, adding insult to injury, the committee approved six of the seven applicants, completely ignoring the voices of the residents it is supposed to represent!

The transportation committee's undemocratic decision will be up for a final vote before the Full Community Board this Thursday evening. Many board members are upset at the behavior of the committee members and will attempt to overturn the committee's vote.

Please come out and show the community board members that we want DOT to obey our zoning laws and that we don't want our residential streets turning into a dining room for lounging tourists.

Some supporters of the cafes tell Eater that these rich residents just don't want to lose parking spaces. Meanwhile, one participant in the DOT's pilot program reports that business was up 15% during an otherwise difficult time. Not surprisingly, the businesses in FiDi and Brooklyn that were approved for this program are facing no opposition.
· They're Not Gonna Take It [NYP]
· Soho Gears Up for Battle Against 'Dangerous' Pop-Ups [~ENY~]
[photo credit]

What Happens When

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