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Projects & Proposals > Brooklyn > Gowanus Canal Corridor Printer Friendly Version
Gowanus Canal Corridor Framework
Land Use Framework
Overview | Land Use Framework | Draft Zoning Proposal | Public Outreach
Proposed Framework - July 2007
Beginning in January 2007, the Department conducted a series of outreach meetings, hosted by Brooklyn Community Board 6, to inform the creation of a planning framework for the Gowanus Canal Corridor. On July 30, the Department held its fourth meeting in this series to present its proposed framework. The framework is a set of guiding principles relating to issues including use, density, bulk, and waterfront access, intended to provide standards for formulating and evaluating proposals for future land use changes.

July 30th, 2007 Slideshow Presentation

View the slideshow presentation from
the July 30th, 2007 meeting

What is the Framework?

The framework is a set of guiding principles that provides standards for formulating and evaluating proposals for future land use changes.  These principles were shaped by shared goals, the opportunities and challenges of achieving these goals, and an understanding of the entire corridor.

The meeting focused on identifying parameters for density, height and waterfront access that balance a variety of goals in areas where mixed use would be appropriate.  These parameters could help to encourage cleanup and redevelopment of sites while balancing among a variety of goals, including: 

  • Establishing limits on building heights, especially near existing low-scale housing
  • Ensuring harmonious relationship between waterfront open space and new buildings
  • Including opportunities for application of Inclusionary Housing program

Urban Design Goals


Waterfront Public Access

The prospect of redevelopment of sites on the canal creates an opportunity to achieve public access at the canal's edge. The framework identifies parameters for the creation of public open space at the canal’s edge in conjunction with residential and commercial developments. The framework suggests providing pedestrian connections between adjacent neighborhoods and the canal as well as maintaining visual corridors from the street grid to the canal.  The design of waterfront open space should respond to the unique conditions of waterfront sites. 

Waterfront Public Access


Density and Height

The framework identifies parameters for height and density based on the specific conditions of each block identified as having potential for mixed use. The framework recommends that maximum densities generally be similar to those of nearby zoning districts. On canal blocks, it includes recommendations for varied limits on height to balance the need to address unique site conditions and the range of overall framework goals, including promoting affordable housing opportunities and considering neighborhood context.

Mixed Use Blocks: Upland and Canal

Land Use Analysis - January 2007
Existing Zoning Map
Existing Zoning Map
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Proposed Land Use
Proposed Land Use Framework
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The initial step of the Department's analysis examined the existing manufacturing zoning districts surrounding the canal within Brooklyn Community District 6. This area is bounded generally by Bond Street to the west, Butler Street to the north, 3rd and 4th Avenues to the east, and Hamilton Avenue to the south. Existing zoning districts in this area include M1, M2, and M3 manufacturing districts.

To the east and west of this area are the primarily residential neighborhoods of Park Slope and Carroll Gardens, respectively. The commercial corridors of 4th Avenue and Smith Street run along or near the boundaries of the area. At the northern edge of the area are the New York City Housing Authority's Wyckoff Gardens and Gowanus Houses developments. To the south, beyond the southern boundary of Community District 6, is the Hamilton Avenue Bridge and the Gowanus Expressway, and industrial areas flanking the Gowanus Creek.

In order to identify areas where future housing or mixed use might be appropriate, as well as areas to be maintained for continued industrial and commercial use, the Department analyzed existing land use and recent trends within the manufacturing districts surrounding the Gowanus Canal. Based on this analysis, the area was divided into five subareas (A through E), within which different land use patterns exist.

The proposed land use framework, introduced at the January 25th, 2007  public meeting, identifies portions of the study area within which new residential or mixed use may be appropriate, as well as areas proposed to be maintained primarily for continued industrial and commercial activity. These recommendations also take into consideration the relationship between these areas and the adjacent neighborhoods, which are home to thriving residential communities and active retail corridors including 4th Avenue and Smith Street.

Public Place

View of Public Place Site
View of Public Place Site
Located at Smith Street and 5th Street is a largely vacant City-owned parcel which is designated Public Place. Formerly the site of a coal gasification facility, this site requires substantial environmental remediation. Keyspan, as successor to the former owner of the site, has entered into a voluntary cleanup agreement with the NYS DEC, which in January released a proposed remedy for achieving the cleanup of the site. This site, the only major piece of City-owned land in this area, offers a unique opportunity to pursue redevelopment options that address directly land use concerns such as affordable housing and public open space. HPD is currently leading an effort to coordinate redevelopment planning with the environmental remediation of this site.

Overview | Land Use Framework | Draft Zoning Proposal | Public Outreach

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