Special District

The EVCC works to support independent small businesses in our neighborhood to help maintain the diverse, unique community that has long thrived here and is essential for our future. Through community input and our Formula Retail Working Group, we analyzed the current state of formula retail within the East Village. The EVCC’s 2015 Preserving Local, Independent Retail report includes a set of proposals for limiting chain stores in the neighborhood through zoning reforms.

According to the Center for Urban Future, 2017 marked the ninth consecutive year there was a net increase in national chain stores throughout the five boroughs. To defend communities against this homogenizing trend, San Francisco and NYC’s own Upper West Side have turned to formula retail regulation.

In 2008, three corridors on NYC’s Upper West Side were rezoned as “Special Districts” in an attempt to offset a trend toward store frontages being overtaken by banks and apartment lobbies. The zoning now limits the storefront sizes and certain store conversions or changes in use. The City Council’s December 2017 report, Planning for Retail Diversity, states “restrictions on storefront sizes have been effective in stabilizing the number of storefronts on Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues and preventing the displacement of existing businesses for storefront mergers”.

San Francisco is the largest urban area in the US to have strict formula retail business restrictions. San Francisco’s zoning only allows formula retail in certain neighborhoods; requires neighborhood notifications before any chain retail is permitted; and can limit the size and type of formula retail allowed in a given area. The San Francisco Department of Planning’s website details the restrictions and provides residents with a link where they can find out exact zoning for specific sites.

The EVCC continues to press for any and all measures to support local independent business, and is working with CB 3 on a proposed Special District for the East Village.

Latest News on Our Efforts

  • 12pm THU 7/9 Weekly Manhattan Chamber of Commerce webinar: Small business money management in times of crisis Read More
  • NYC Phase 3 Reopening starts Monday, July 6! Indoor dining is not yet permitted in NYC. Outdoor dining is permitted on sidewalks and in parking lanes. Seating cannot exceed business frontage and is not allowed in bike lanes, bus stops, crosswalks, etc. See diagrams and a list of restrictions, along with very important additional information in FAQs. Retail and licensed hair care providers are ... Read More
  • Premiere 6 PM THU JUN 25! Join James & Karla Murray for the YouTube Premiere of their Storefront Photography / Oral History Workshop with LiveChat! Subscribe to their channel for profiles of your neighborhood favorites! Read More
  • NYC Phase 2 Reopening starts Monday, June 22! Outdoor dining is permitted on sidewalks and in parking lanes. Seating cannot exceed business frontage and is not allowed in bike lanes, bus stops, crosswalks, etc. See diagrams and a full list of restrictions here. Retail and licensed hair care providers are permitted to open under industry-specific guidelines. Other personal care services: tattoo or piercing ... Read More
  • 2 PM TUE MAY 19 Weekly Manhattan Chamber of Commerce webinar: Preparing Your Required COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan for Business Reopening in New York State Read More
  • Jane’s Walk From Home Join EVCC on our Jane’s Walk From Home! Saving History: Community Advocacy in the East Village Touring the streets surrounding Tompkins Square Park through historic photos from Urban Archives, we look at moments in time where the actions of neighbors, activists and local organizations helped change the course of history. Learn how constant advocacy through zoning, ... Read More
  • COVID open essential businesses Find out which businesses are still open in the EV Read More
  • 2 PM TUE APR 14 Weekly Manhattan Chamber of Commerce webinar Rent Relief for Small Businesses and Unemployment Insurance for Solo Entrepreneurs Read More
  • 1PM FRI APR 10 EVIMA Webinar with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and the Small Business Administration (SBA): Live Q & A   Read More
  • NEW Resources for Small Businesses impacted by COVID-19 We have collated some resources to help local small businesses impacted by COVID-19 outbreak. Read More