The Brooklyn neighborhood of Gowanus will move one step closer to a rezoning overhaul after Judge Katherine Levine decided to lift a temporary restraining order, which was part of a lawsuit filed by community groups opposed to the rezoning move.
Led by Voice of Gowanus, the community groups fighting the rezoning, who argued that public hearings for the proposal - which would allow for buildings up to 30 stories - should be delayed because of COVID, and not be held over Zoom. Judge Levine’s response was to hold both a virtual meeting and a simultaneous outdoor one to satisfy these qualms. As a result, the seven-month Unified Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) is now set to start.
The rezoning would involve a massive redevelopment project along the Gowanus Canal, which has been a superfund site filled with toxic pollutants. Of the more than 8,000 housing proposed housing units, 3,000 will be set aside as affordable housing under NYC’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program. City Planning estimates that the rezoning will bring more than 20,000 new residents to the area. (bklyn.com, 2021) (brownstoner.com, 2021)
Other key aspects of the draft zoning proposal include creating a waterfront access plan along the canal, increasing density for industrial, commercial and arts-related spaces, and bringing a cluster of legal, non-conforming buildings into conformance with zoning. Development along the canal and in other areas would be given FAR incentives to encourage mixed-use. (nyc.gov, 2021)