Reminder: Comments On Gowanus Rezoning Due Monday, May 27


GOWANUS – Comments regarding the NYC Department of City Planning‘s (DCP) Draft Scope of Work for the Gowanus Neighborhood Rezoning proposal are due on Monday.

Gowanus Canal seen from the 9th Street Bridge (Photo: Nathan Haselby)

DCP will accept written comments until the close of business on Monday, May 27.

Feedback can be emailed to, submitted here, or mailed to:

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Department of City Planning
Environmental Assessment & Review Division
120 Broadway, 31st Floor
New York, New York  10271.

Click here to review the Draft Scope of Work.  For more information on DCP’s Gowanus Neighborhood Draft Zoning Proposal click here and for Bklyner’s coverage of DCP’s April 25th Gowanus Scoping Meeting click here. DCP will consider comments collected on the Draft SOW as the agency prepares the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).

The Brooklyn Community Board 6 Executive Committee met Tuesday evening to work on finalizing its submission to DCP. CB6 will deliver its letter to the agency in the coming days.

During the general board meeting on May 7, several CB6 members expressed concerns about the “passive” tone of the board’s draft letter as well as the Gowanus Neighborhood Rezoning proposal’s lack of parking and the agency’s failure to address concerns about the area’s infrastructure.

The Gowanus Canal CAG (Community Advisory Group) provided testimony at the Scoping Meeting on April 25 and submitted a resolution to the city demanding that “the City-sponsored Gowanus Neighborhood Rezoning not compromise the Superfund remedy through allowing proposed density to increase combined sewage overflow (CSO) into the Canal.”

And on Wednesday morning, Voice of Gowanus, a new coalition made up of Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus (FROGG), Human-Scale NYC, the Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association, the Carroll Gardens Coalition for Respectful Development, and Gowanus is Dirty, held a press event on the Carroll Street Bridge to restate their opposition to the Gowanus rezoning plan.

Along with their opposition to developing the area before the Gowanus Canal Superfund cleanup is completed, the coalition “is also seriously concerned about the inadequacy of neighborhood infrastructure (transit, schools, sewage) in the face of a massive influx of additional residents. The proposed rezoning’s misplaced density and greenwashing also raise serious concerns,” according to a release from the group.

“We should not be increasing residential density in areas subject to flooding,” said neighbor and CB6 member Glenn Kelly at the event. “There are better, safer, and less expensive places to add the needed housing. The first priority is to bring environmental justice to this community by thoroughly cleaning the toxic poison from the Canal and upland. This cleanup should include planning to prevent combined sewer overflow into the Canal. We should not have an open sewer in an area targeted for development.”

The organization Human-Scale NYC “calls for a moratorium on all upzonings until the conflicts of interest at the Department of City Planning are cleaned out and real estate interests are removed from serving on the Commission,” added Lynn Ellsworth.

Resident and Gowanus Dredgers member Brad Vogel noted “even though many of us gathered here have attended many, many, many planning meetings, we still do not believe the current rezoning plan reflects our input. For one, we did not get concrete answers from the city about how the anticipated development will avoid polluting the Canal with more combined sewer overflow.”

“The community is not happy with the 4th Avenue zoning,” added Kelly. “We were all surprised with how the LIC and Downtown Brooklyn zonings were built out. These were the best that NYC Planning could do with the tools available to them…but it was only the developers who got what they wanted. If we slow down and plan carefully, we will definitely produce a better result. And don’t we all want a better result?”

Another reminder: the Gowanus CAG will host the Gowanus Superfund Town Hall next Wednesday, May 29, to update the public on and answer questions about the Gowanus Canal clean-up. Learn more here.

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  1. “but it was only the developers who got what they wanted.” is the common lie these NIMBYs tell. Both downtown Brooklyn and Long Island City are full of new residents who willingly live there. NIMBYs cannot imagine anyone existing beyond themselves, so tens of thousands of people making lives for themselves in new buildings (instead of displacing Bushwick residents) do not matter.

  2. “NIMBYs cannot imagine anyone existing beyond themselves”. Mike, get help.

    The subject is Gowanus, not DB or Bushwick.

  3. There are impartial and objective reasons for opposing hi-rise residential development in Gowanus. There are very serious environmental concerns. The Gowanus Canal has not yet been cleaned. There is no plan to replace the soil, which is badly polluted. Building on polluted soil will release pollutants into the air. A storm drain system has not yet been built to prevent raw sewage from dumping into the canal. A concentration of tall buildings will create a heat island effect and alter air flow patterns, trapping polluted air from many sources in Gowanus. There are serious concerns about infrastructure. There is no convenient subway service in parts of Gowanus. There is no space for parking and more automobiles is not an option in an age of climate change. Finally, the housing proposed would serve a few lucky lower income families who win the affordable housing lottery and a larger number of wealthy residents who can afford $5,000+ per month apartments. There would be no housing for the great majority of people who earn less than $250,000 per year. This is a plan that will only further make NYC a city of the rich and the poor. Instead, provide tax incentives and zoning variances for developers to build genuinely affordable housing, i.e., moderately hi-rise (6-8 floors) buildings, for low to upper middle income people on environmentally sound land near subway lines in neighborhoods where land is relatively inexpensive. When non-professionals can come up with better plans for urban development than the city’s professional planners, you know something is wrong.


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