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East Village Vacancies Prompt Possible New Zoning Rules

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The proposed fix would actually limit the number of restaurants and bars

NYC’s vacancies, mapped
The red is taking over
VacantNewYork.com

Responding to the sameness and empty storefronts now plaguing New York City’s streets, Community Board 3 is proposing a special business district in the East Village to foster diverse and independent businesses in the neighborhood. As CB3 says, the idea is to reverse the “dramatic loss of small ‘mom & pop’ businesses in the past 10+ years” from 14th Street to Houston, between Second Avenue and Avenue D, as well as Saint Mark’s Place between Second and Third Avenues.

If the move is approved, CB3 would then have the power to limit the number of restaurants and bars to just 25 percent of any given block within the area, as well as just one bank or chain per block. As a community board’s focus is often on the disruption caused to residents by a restaurant or bar, this restriction would play neatly into focusing on independently-owned, more family-friendly businesses.

This is certainly one way to respond to the rash of vacancies flooding NYC. Another is landlords slashing rents to try to fill up storefronts, though if CB3 has its way, it will be with only a certain type.

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