Like most municipalities, NYC has established zoning codes so that the ability to build something on a piece of land is determined by law/regulation, as opposed to the public's opinion on what the owner should be able to construct.
Sometimes, the zoning code allows businesses that few neighbors support (for example: pawn shops, liquor stores, porn, check cashing places, fast food).
In East Flatbush, some neighbors want their views to trump the ability of a property owner to build a hotel. Jumaane Williams has joined their cause, and sent out an email filled with the residents' fears and concerns:
Who should win? To what extent should limits be placed on community control?