City releases proposals for Gowanus rezoning
by Austin Havens-Bowen
Feb 05, 2019 | 1304 views | 0 0 comments | 140 140 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Department of City Planning (DCP) released its rezoning proposal for Gowanus last week.

“Does it get more dynamic and eclectic than Gowanus?” said DCP director Marisa Lago in a statement. “We’ve been listening to, learning from and working with neighborhood residents, businesses, community organizations and elected officials. There’s a consistent message: grow smart and grow green,”

The proposal builds off the Gowanus Framework plan, an outline that sets goals and strategies aimed to transform Gowanus into a more sustainable and affordable neighborhood.

“Now it’s time to devise land use policies that spur job creation, create and preserve housing, and provide new open space as the canal is cleaned up,” said Lago.

The zoning proposal covers an area bounded by Bond Street to the west, Baltic Street to the north, 4th Avenue to the east, and Huntington, 3rd, 7th and 15th streets to the south.

The proposal focuses on a mixed-use growth that includes affordable housing, areas for commercial and industrial businesses, and new open space.

Initiatives to create a more eco-friendly neighborhood include remediation of brownfield sites to accommodate new development along the canal, and requirements to elevate the shoreline to protect against flooding.

The proposal also adheres to the Gowanus Waterfront Access Plan to ensure the development of public waterfront spaces designed to mitigate the impacts of stormwater runoff.

“The community engagement efforts during the rezoning process, one the largest of the de Blasio Administration, have been comprehensive and ongoing,” said Councilman Stephen Levin. “Those efforts have ensured that the draft zoning proposal and framework address issues of environmental remediation and work to preserve the ‘Gowanus mix’ of arts, industry, and manufacturing.”

Residents, however, had mixed reactions to the proposal. The Gowanus Alliance remains hopeful for the neighborhood's future, but also fears that the rezoning focuses on the wrong issues, leaving problems like the rise of homelessness and cost-of-living unsolved.

Some residents also believe that the proposal caters to developers, as the draft zoning plan allows for buildings as tall as 22-stories high along the Canal, with one block allowing for buildings up to 30-stories high.

DCP was scheduled to host an open house to get feedback and answer questions about he proposal on February 6 from 6 to 8 p.m. at P.S. 32, 317 Hoyt Street.
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