Long-Awaited Gowanus Rezoning Hearing Brings 6 Hours Of Testimony

GOWANUS, BROOKLYN — A singular in-person and digital hybrid public listening to in regards to the metropolis’s controversial plan to rezone Gowanus introduced six hours of testimony in Brooklyn on Thursday, kicking off a evaluate course of that had been delayed by a months-long courtroom battle.

The listening to — led by Community Boards 2 and 6 — featured testimony from greater than 100 individuals each remotely and at Washington Park, the place the Department of City Planning was compelled by courtroom order to arrange an in-person possibility after a lawsuit from native opponents challenged the usage of distant hearings through the coronavirus disaster.

It comes practically six months after town first sought to begin the evaluate course of in January for the plan, which proposes a collection of city-led zoning adjustments to spur a mixture of growth on a once-industrial 80 blocks surrounding the Gowanus Canal.

Perhaps the biggest rallying cry from these talking on the listening to each for and in opposition to the plan was for town so as to add a long-promised dedication to fund decaying New York City Housing Authority complexes within the neighborhood.

“To date, the city has made no formal commitment and that is unacceptable,” mentioned Lynn Newman of environmental group 350 Brooklyn, which is a part of the Gowanus Neighborhood Coalition for Justice. “Promises have been made with little to no action.”

The coalition, which features a dozen native organizations, and each City Council Members Brad Lander and Stephen Levin have mentioned the NYCHA funding and two different GNCJ calls for will decide whether or not they help the rezoning.

GNCJ’s calls for embody dedicating $274 million in upfront funding for capital repairs on the Gowanus Houses and Wyckoff Gardens, creating an accountability job pressure to observe guarantees made by town for the rezoning and guaranteeing new growth will not enhance air pollution within the Gowanus Canal, which they are saying has been partially met by a stormwater rule within the plan.

Pollution into the Gowanus Canal was additionally a mainstay for stark opponents of the rezoning.

Opponents — together with teams behind the lawsuit — have lengthy urged metropolis officers to attend till a federally-mandated clean-up on the canal is accomplished earlier than placing the rezoning in movement.

They even have decried part of the proposal that may build inexpensive housing on a city-owned brownfield web site often known as Public Place, or Gowanus Green.

“Nothing in the…aspirational language of affordable housing, preservation of a beloved neighborhood, job creation, new infrastructure, sustainability or artistic space matters if the area remains toxic or is flooded beyond repair,” mentioned one longtime resident on Thursday.

But supporters of the rezoning maintained Thursday that the transformation of Gowanus cannot wait given its contribution to town’s housing disaster.

Proponents like Lander have mentioned the proposal could possibly be the “opposite of gentrification” given its position as the primary city-led rezoning in a whiter, wealthier neighborhood, quite than in a working-class neighborhood of coloration.

The rezoning goals to carry 8,200 new items of housing to the neighborhood. Of these, about 3,000 can be inexpensive.

“This rezoning is a chance…for you to add desperately needed new housing units,” mentioned Dan Miller. “…We cannot delay this vital new housing — we need to approve this rezoning and build, build, build.”

The Gowanus rezoning will face Community Board 6’s Landmarks and Land Use Committee for a vote later this month and head to the total board on June 23.

Find the total six-hour public listening to here.

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