Don’t worry, be happy about Gowanus rezoning, councilman says

Local pol Brad Lander expects the process to go smoothly

Brad Lander and Gowanus (Credit: Twitter and Jim.henderson)
Brad Lander and Gowanus (Credit: Twitter and Jim.henderson)

Rezoning efforts in New York tend to be met with protests and complaints, but Gowanus council member Brad Lander thinks his neighborhood could prove the exception to this rule.

“I think we are building a lot of consensus. And I am hopeful that this will produce a better plan,” Lander said in an interview with Politico. “The goal is not just not to have opposition … but hopefully the subsequent process, the ULURP, will be smoother as a result.”

The Department of City Planning on Wednesday released recommendations for the rezoning that its staffers and groups of Gowanus residents had developed, highlighting which recommendations it supported, which ones it would keep considering and which points it disagrees with.

Although some groups advocated for no new residential developments along the neighborhood’s famous canal, for instance, DCP and Lander both disagree with this.

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DCP hopes to release a framework for the Gowanus rezoning by early 2018. The neighborhood’s location in the heart of Brooklyn has made it a potentially enticing spot for developers, but industrial pollution spanning more than 100 years has slowed down the development process.

However, the neighborhood has still seen some action. A Whole Foods opened in 2013, and the Hakim Organization partnered with Property Markets Group in July to purchase a development site at 455-459 Smith Street for about $50 million.

East New York and Far Rockaway are the only neighborhoods Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration to successfully be rezoned so far. East Harlem will likely be next, although Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer has voiced opposition to the plan.  [Politico]Eddie Small