The New York City Planning Commission didn’t include a ban on big box stores when it voted yesterday on development plans for the Seward Park Extension Renewal Area, or SPURA, in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, despite pressure from some local residents and activists. A push for size limits, which had been included in the local community board’s recommendations, was aimed at keeping out Walmart or another similarly sized store. “It is disappointing because there’s a lot of things that are really great happening with this SPURA and the things that were approved today, but a lot of people have made some really valid points about the impacts any big box store, but specifically Walmart would have on the local economy,” said Esther Wang, the project director of CAAAV’s Chinatown Tenants Union. “When you’re looking at a neighborhood where small businesses are such an important part of the economy, recycling money back into the neighborhood, the money is not taken out of the community, and people really thought that they would consider it.”
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