Tuesday, November 23, 2021



De Blasio administration’s largest rezoning to freshen up decades-old codes in dynamic, transit-rich neighborhood
Plan delivers $250 million in new public investment for public parks, resilient infrastructure, and community amenities

 The de Blasio Administration and Council Members Brad Lander and Stephen Levin today celebrated the City Council’s approval of the Gowanus Neighborhood Plan, the first change to Gowanus’ zoning codes in sixty years. After nearly a decade of engagement with community groups and elected officials, the final plan will make space for approximately 8,500 new homes, including 3,000 permanently affordable homes. The rezoning will also provide long-needed tools to bolster job growth, support industrial businesses, encourage new schools and transit improvements, and create a unique set of publicly accessible waterfront areas along a cleaned-up Gowanus Canal.
The Plan includes $250 million in supporting investments for new and improved public parks, upgraded drainage infrastructure, and community amenities. An additional $200 million will address priority capital improvements to adjacent NYCHA homes.
“Rezoning Gowanus – and unlocking a high-opportunity, transit-rich neighborhood in the heart of Brooklyn for new generations of New Yorkers – is a transformative step toward building a recovery for all of us,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Thanks to years of hard work from city agencies, elected officials, advocates, and Gowanus residents, we’re finally bringing this neighborhood the jobs, housing, and open space it deserves.”
“I am thrilled to see through the Gowanus Neighborhood Plan after so many years of dedicated, collaborative work between the City, Council Members Lander and Levin, and the Gowanus community. Opening up a centrally-located, well-resourced part of Brooklyn to more New Yorkers is a critical step towards a fairer city,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been. “I look forward to seeing the growth and public investments advance to realize a more resilient and equitable Gowanus.”
“After years of focused planning work, today is a day for celebration! Thanks to a highly-collaborative process with the Gowanus community, Council Members Brad Lander and Stephen Levin, and our sister agencies, this transit rich, centrally-located and historic Brooklyn community will remain as creative and vibrant as ever, while also becoming much more affordable, greener and more resilient,” said Department of City Planning Director Anita Laremont. “I congratulate all of those who contributed to this important plan.”
The Gowanus Neighborhood Plan supports an equitable recovery by facilitating the creation of thousands of safe, affordable homes in a high-opportunity, transit-rich neighborhood. Of the estimated 8,500 new homes to result from the rezoning, approximately 2,000 will be permanently affordable under Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Program (MIH). For example, many two-bedroom apartments will have rents as low as $900 per month in a neighborhood that currently has asking rents that are often greater than $2,500 per month.
Another nearly 1,000 permanently affordable homes will be constructed on city-owned land within the rezoning area. The 100% affordable residential development, Gowanus Green, will also include a new public school and a new park. At least half of the rental units in the project will serve families earning $51,200 or less, including at least 140 homes to be set aside for formerly homeless New Yorkers. The site will be fully remediated ahead of construction.
The Gowanus Neighborhood Plan is the de Blasio administration’s largest neighborhood rezoning to date. The Plan covers the area roughly 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.
Supporting investments include $250 million in infrastructure and amenities to the direct rezoning area. Those initiatives include:
  • Nearly six acres of new public parks and open spaces, improvements to existing open spaces, and requirements for a publicly accessible waterfront esplanade:
  • A new, city-owned waterfront park adjacent to Gowanus Green and new open spaces such as the Salt Lot CSO tank site and the Bond Street street end
  • Renovations to Boerum Park
  • New publicly accessible waterfront spaces forming a continuous esplanade along the Canal, required to be part of any future waterfront development per the new Gowanus Waterfront Access Plan (WAP)
  • Approximately $22 million in pedestrian safety improvements
  • $174 million to complete significant upgrades to drainage infrastructure to alleviate flooding conditions in the area, particularly in the vicinity of 4th Ave and Carroll Street. This investment will include the reconstruction of existing sewer lines and the rehabilitation of the 19th Street Pump Station.
  • Requirements that new development must clean up long-polluted brownfield sites, elevate their buildings to protect against long-term daily tidal flooding, and meet new stormwater management requirements that will reduce annual combined sewer overflow (CSO) volumes.
  • New innovative measures built into the zoning regulations that incentivize:
  • New school seats that may be needed alongside future growth
  • Transit accessibility improvements to local subway stations
  • New space for job-generating businesses in the commercial, cultural, industrial and retail sectors
  • Dedicated space for artists, light manufacturing, and community uses in new development via a dedicated zoning mechanism known as the “Gowanus Mix”
  • Active uses on ground floors along major streets and corners.
  • Expanded small business assistance and workforce development programming to expand access to new job opportunities in the area.
The commitments also include approximately $200 million to address priority capital improvements to two adjacent NYCHA developments, Gowanus Houses and Wyckoff Gardens, to ensure the Plan incorporates the broader Gowanus community’s needs. The investment will deliver comprehensive interior apartment renovations for all 1,662 units, including newly renovated bathrooms and kitchens, new flooring, and upgrades to lighting, electrical, and plumbing. The commitments also include the expansion of the MAP initiative, the completion of renovations to the Gowanus and Wyckoff Community Centers, and the expansion of free or low-cost broadband.
The Gowanus Neighborhood Plan is built on nearly a decade of community engagement between City Council, Community Board 6, community organizations, residents, and a large City agency team. The City and Council Members Lander and Levin have worked intensively together since 2016, when the City kicked off an engagement process with hundreds of meetings to shape the proposal. A two-year online engagement pilot run by the Department of City Planning, plangowanus.com, received over 17,000 visitors and over 250 comments to inform the plan. The City is committed to continued coordination and accountability on the implementation of the Plan alongside the Community Board and local stakeholders.
“The future of Gowanus accelerates forward today, anchored in affordability, equitable growth and resiliency,” said HPD Commissioner Louise Carroll. “Bringing nearly 1,000 new affordable homes and a new public waterfront park, the transformative Gowanus Green project will be a cornerstone of the Gowanus Neighborhood Plan which is guiding the growth of this vibrant community on the values of fairness and inclusion. We are excited to join with community residents and local officials as a critical partner to ensure Gowanus’ development serves a diversity of families, including current and soon to be residents.”
“Built on parks and public space equity, the Gowanus plan offers a model of green urbanism not just for New York City but for the rest of the country. Not only does the rezoning provide an all-new 1.5-acre park, but it activates the waterfront to create a destination shoreline walkway that reflects the Canal’s industrial past,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Gabrielle Fialkoff. "As New York City grows, we must continue to make resilient, accessible, and beautiful public spaces central to our vision for the future. The Gowanus rezoning does just that.”
“DEP is committed to further improving drainage in the Gowanus neighborhood and restoring the health and ecology of the Canal, and the forthcoming Stormwater Rule and approximately $1 billion overflow retention tanks will go a long way towards those goals,” said DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza.  “From upgrading the Canal’s Flushing Tunnel to building rain gardens and green playgrounds, separating sewers on 3rd Avenue and upgrading the wastewater pumping station we have already invested hundreds of millions of dollars and are using every tool in the toolbox to improve the quality of life for residents and businesses in Gowanus.”

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