New C.B. 3 chairperson has focused on land use


By Albert Amateau

Domenic Pisciotta, the new chairperson of Community Board 3, has been involved in the hot land use issues of the district since 2005, when he was first appointed to the board. In June he was elected by his fellow board members to head C.B. 3, which covers the East Village and the Lower East Side south of 14th St. to the Brooklyn Bridge and east of Fourth Ave. and Bowery.

Pisciotta served on the board’s former Housing and Zoning Committee and was a member of the board’s task force on the community-based 197A rezoning initiative that has been amended and expanded to become the East Village/Lower East Side rezoning proposal currently going through the city’s uniform land use review procedure.

A native of Virginia, Pisciotta, 36, grew up in Arlington and was no stranger to public service and interest in civic issues.

“My father was a high school teacher. He’s retired now,” he said. “My mother is a real estate agent in Alexandria, and my grandfather was retired from the Air Force. So there was always talk about politics and public issues. I was politically active in high school and did volunteer organizing on the environment,” he said.

He attended James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., and graduated in 1994.

“I ran a coffee shop cyber cafe in Arlington for a while, but I wanted to go to New York,” he said.

He moved to the Lower East Side in 1999 about year after he came to New York, and he and his partner bought into the Seward Park Co-op. In 2002, Pisciotta began working for the city Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, where his present duties involve providing city agencies with large-scale computer resources.

From the beginning, he wanted to join Community Board 3 and applied to then-Borough President C. Virginia Fields for appointment.

“She didn’t have a community board vacancy in 2004,” he said. “But she did have an opening on the Community Education Council for District 2, and because we have twins — a boy and a girl now five and a half years old — I accepted the appointment.” The education councils include residents of the city Department of Education school districts.

Pisciotta served on the District 2 C.E.C. for a year until Fields appointed him to fill a vacancy on the community board, Pisciotta recalled.

He noted that the Housing and Zoning Committee was instrumental in moving the East Village/Lower East Side rezoning public-review process to the point where the rezoning could become law by November.

“Now, we want to pay more attention to planning and to economic development, so one of the things we did at the last board meeting was to restructure the committees,” Pisciotta said. A new Economic Development, Planning and Zoning Committee emerged from the restructuring and another committee was organized to deal with general housing matters and issues concerning the New York City Housing Authority, he said.

Regarding the board’s recommendations to the State Liquor Authority, there is still a moratorium in some bar-saturated areas of the district where C.B. 3 will refuse to consider any more liquor license applications. The newer focus, however, will be liquor licenses between Delancey and Canal Sts.

“We want to be prudent about applicants for licenses for restaurants — that they’re not for just bars. We don’t want to repeat what happened north of Delancey St.,” Pisciotta said.

“The S.L.A. has been a lot more ready to listen to community board recommendations than before,” he added.

Pisciotta and the board also want developers of new hotels in the district to give local residents priority when hiring for jobs.

The board also is part of a working group concerned with development in Chinatown, he said.

“I’m glad to be invested in the community and to try to bring people together and find out what’s best for everyone,” Pisciotta said.