City Unveils Massive Rezoning Initiative to Spur Development in Gowanus, Brooklyn

An imagined sketch of the Gowanus Canal from the Department of City Planning

Extensive rezoning proposals from New York City’s Department of City Planning could spur a dramatic uptick in development along the shores of Gowanus, Brooklyn. Known among city agencies as the “Gowanus Neighborhood Plan,” the initiative is designed to facilitate the construction of residential and commercial properties, to encourage population increase, and to help create new job opportunities for local residents.

If approved, the zoning amendments could spur the construction of more than 7.6 million square feet of new residential area, upwards of 1.5 million square feet of commercial area, and an overall reduction of vacant, underutilized land. These developments would also include expanded community facilities, publicly accessible open space, and parking.

A map from the Department of City Planning illustrates areas that would be effected by the Gowanus Neighborhood Plan

The Gowanus Canal runs through the center of the neighborhood and once served as a busy industrial waterway. By the 1880’s, the shores of the canal were also home to a variety of heavy manufacturing plants including coal and oil, foundries, paint and ink factories, electroplating shops, and paper mills, as well as the storage and distribution of materials used to build and maintain adjacent residential neighborhoods. By the 1920’s, approximately six million tons of cargo made their way in and out of the canal.

Unfortunately, the canal was also used as a dumping ground for raw sewage and untreated industrial waste. By the mid-19th century, pollution in the canal rose to levels that were incompatible for marine life and hazardous to humans. In 2009, the canal was officially deemed a Superfund site in an effort to significantly clean and restore the canal waters.

Considering the history and reputation of the Gowanus Canal, sustainability is a primary focus for officials who support rezoning the neighborhood.

“The Gowanus draft zoning proposal is a strong next step toward the sustainable, inclusive, mixed-use neighborhood that the community has been envisioning for many years,” said New York City Council Member Brad Lander. “The draft zoning proposal and framework updates address issues of environmental remediation and sustainability, a dynamic and resilient waterfront, significant new affordable and market-rate housing, public housing improvements, preserving the ‘Gowanus mix’ of arts and manufacturing, integrated schools, historic preservation, new open space, and school and transit improvements.

City agencies are currently working with community partners and developers to help realize the Gowanus Neighborhood Plan which also calls for infrastructure improvements and community investments. The next steps include a thorough environmental and public review before implementation can begin.

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10 Comments on "City Unveils Massive Rezoning Initiative to Spur Development in Gowanus, Brooklyn"

  1. Pardon me for farting in your ear: I see Super fund. Flowers floating in canal.

  2. “Inclusive”, you say? The only way to make it “inclusive” is to ban high-end rentals and to ensure affordability — real affordability which means renting at $70-75/sf (annum). Otherwise forget it.

    • Make more money if you want to live in a fancy new build apartment in a high-rent neighborhood.

    • Not sure where your numbers come from. Take a large 1 bedroom for example: 700sf at your 70-75/sf = 50K or 4+K month and you think thats real affordability? Did i miss something?

  3. Brooklyn for Real | April 4, 2019 at 1:35 pm | Reply

    Brad Lander selling his constituents a bunch of lies. He’s puppet for the real estate speculators who purchased inexpensive polluted sites along the canal adjacent to expensive Carroll Gardens and Park Slope.

    Rezoning and Upzoning hands extremely valuable air rights to the owners of those sights. It happened in Williamsburg / Greenpoint and Downtown Brooklyn. How can a city government that can’t afford to fix NYCHA buildings or our subway have the audacity to not sell but give away millions of dollars worth of air rights away to a handful of speculative real estate developers. It should be criminal. Well we have a public advocate who claims he’s going to stop these leeches from this bullshit. Wether it’s Dept of City Planning or the Board of Standards and Appeal increasing air rights they must be purchased at actual market value not given away for free.

    There never was a time when a current resident of Brad Landers district (Park Slope, Gowanus and Carroll Gardens) said we are lacking 8200 more apartments. We don’t need to live in over populated neighborhood without available spots in local schools.

    Do not support an increase of residential rental apartments in Gowanus. Allow Gowanus to remain as a place of employment. City planing should rezone the area to allow for an increase in manufacturing, office space, arts, cultural and neighbor commercial business: restaurants and retail. We shouldn’t be forced to commute on overcrowded subways into Manhattan for work. Provide zoning that allows business that employe Brooklynites.

    Allow these proposed residential buildings will not have to pay any property tax. Absolutely nothing. The just renamed the 421a program and neglect to tell the public that these massive for profit rental buildings will not contribute one penny in property tax. How is that fair to all of the other resident who have to pay tax on their house or apartment. Make sure you pay your tax bill or Dept of Housing may steal it from you in the “third party system”

    Say no to giving away air rights and tax abated over built apartment buildings.

    If that’s not enough for you walk next the two massive rental buildings on First Street and the canal on Garbage night. That’s what the future of gowanus will look like. Massive mounts of trash 5 feet high. Do you like rats?

    Brad Lander: “Brad Lander. “The draft zoning proposal and framework updates address issues of environmental remediation and sustainability, a dynamic and resilient waterfront, significant new affordable and market-rate housing, public housing improvements, preserving the ‘Gowanus mix’ of arts and manufacturing, integrated schools, historic preservation, new open space, and school and transit improvements.”

    Dept of City Plannning cannot and does not have the ability to influence schools, transit or historic preservtion. Lies Lies Lies.

    Brad you were elected to serve the current residents not the real estate speculators: Abe Rosen, Yoel Goodman, Jared Kushner and friends.

    • Sounds like NIMBY nonsense. You like where you live and don’t want it to change – oldest story in the book. You also pander about how rent is too high and people of lesser means can’t afford to live in the city. At some point, the two separate ideas will uncomfortably merge and the basics of supply and demand will register in your pea brain.

    • Bk4Real: we have a housing crisis and we need the private sector to help us build out of it. If developers don’t make money they won’t invest in new construction.
      Sorry that you don’t like the way the system works. Change is not the enemy. (even my dead grandma learned to use email)

  4. Pardon me for using your space:

    The city government is low-key corrupt! How do we stop this in between work and dinner?

    (Thanks to Sebastian Morris)

  5. FakeCrisisonHousing | April 8, 2019 at 3:41 pm | Reply

    Looks like a strategy for solving the housing problems in Palestine,
    .
    just hand over the land in Israeli towns to developers with all the bells and whistles of government give-aways for developers,
    .
    any one who protests such change in their neighborhood should just keep quiet or YIMBY will stick their tong out at you and call you a NIMBY.

  6. I’m wondering about the 400 foot radius. What’s happening in that area?

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