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

  • 311 Boot Camp 6:30 PM WED MAR 10
    Learn how to access open data to see the status of the addresses that interest you. Takeaways include how to research 311 complaints, Department of Buildings violations and hearings. Block associations and individuals are welcome! Please register to receive a link to join us.
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  • Engaging with the WhatsOpenEV.com Map 12:30 – 2:30 PM SUN MAR 7
    Meet the WhatsOpenEV.com map! An open-source tool created by BetaNYC and maintained by EVCC, with tips from local blogger evgrieve.com and dedicated virtual volunteers. On the Ave B Open Street near 11th Street. This event is weather-dependent, please register for updates.
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  • Creating Collective Power: a phototalk with The 4th Street Photo Gallery
    Alex Harsley’s reportage style of photography started in 1958 as the first Black photographer for the New York City District Attorney. Mr. Harsley has curated The 4th Street Photo Gallery and The Minority Photographers non-profit since the early 1970s. Join us for a special photography talk about this neighborhood treasure and Alex Harsley’s own work. Watch the replay of ...
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  • Brigid: Goddess and Saint: a little Irish Women’s history with Susan McKeown
    Join Grammy award-winning vocalist, songwriter and producer Susan McKeown, to hear the tales behind the Irish wave of immigration, how it was different from other immigrant groups, and how the co-mingling of these groups on the Lower East Side influenced all of their cultures. Watch the replay of this wonderful program presented on FEB 2, 2021 and co-sponsored by the ...
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  • East Village: Lens on the Lower East Side Book Talk
    Join author Marilyn Appelberg and contributing photographers for a lively talk on the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative’s East Village: Lens on the Lower East Side. Watch the replay of this wonderful program presented on DEC 29, 2020 and co-sponsored by LESPI.
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  • Through Jan 4: Arecibo at Tompkins Square Library
    The Flint Collective’s latest installation pays tribute to the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, which suffered a catastrophic collapse on December 1. View at 331 E. 10TH ST, 5PM -7PM nightly.
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  • Zumba on the AVE B Open Street! 1-3PM SAT DEC 26
    Join Loisaida Open Streets Community Coalition for a FREE drop-in Zumba Class! Work off those holiday pounds and shed those layers! Sponsored by NYC DOT and produced by Loisaida Open Streets Community Coalition.
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  • James & Karla Murray Tompkins Square Library Curator Talk 6PM MON DEC 7
    Join us for a virtual curator talk with James and Karla Murray, as they show work created by participants of their 2020 Mom and Pop Storefronts Workshops, currently on exhibit at the Tompkins Square Library’s East Village Arts Festival. Please register in advance to receive the Zoom link! Economy Candy by Joel Holland
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  • Tompkins Square Library East Village Arts Festival DEC 4 – 12
    Have you noticed the library glowing? See the Flint Collective’s Arecibo, a lovely tribute to the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, 5PM – 7AM nightly, 331 E. 10TH ST. Register in advance for links to a variety of virtual events in the 4th Annual East Village Arts Festival!
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  • World AIDS Day Vigil 6PM SAT DEC 5
    Join the Loisaida Open Streets Community Coalition on 9th St & Ave B for speakers, performance and a candlelight vigil honoring World AIDS Day.
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