Press Releases

For Immediate Release
April 19, 2021

Melissa Grace, Joe Marvilli – (212) 720-3471

Public Review for Gowanus Neighborhood Plan Begins Today

Proposal allows 3,000 affordable homes, enough for more than 6,000 New Yorkers, six acres of new open space, 3,500 jobs, and greatly improved resiliency

Gowanus Esplanade Sketch

NEW YORK – City Planning Commission (CPC) Chair Marisa Lago today announced the start of public review for the Gowanus Neighborhood Plan. Setting the stage for an era of equity, resiliency and a clean Gowanus Canal, the proposal will bring some 3,000 affordable homes for New York City families and nearly six acres of new open space, including a new park, to this vibrant mixed-use community.

“The Gowanus Neighborhood Plan has been the outcome of over a decade of planning, engagement and advocacy for a fairer, greener, healthier Gowanus. In light of the pandemic and the movement for racial justice, it is more important than ever that we advance projects that bring new affordable housing opportunities to high-amenity neighborhoods and plan holistically for parks, jobs and walkable communities,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been. “I look forward to working with Council Member Lander, Council Member Levin and all of our partners throughout the public review process to finally make this plan a reality.”

More than 10 years in the making, the Gowanus Neighborhood Plan directly supports COVID-19 recovery efforts by facilitating the creation of new permanently affordable homes, some 3,500 new local jobs and walkable open space in this centrally located, transit-abundant Brooklyn community. The plan will require the use of a proposed citywide stormwater management and retention rule and the remediation of brownfields as properties are redeveloped. It will incentivize the creation of space for arts and culture.

The plan covers an 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. Today, this sprawling 82-block area proposed for rezoning has only one major neighborhood park.

“Bringing affordable housing, more jobs and significant amounts of new, improved, carefully crafted public open space to this waterfront and transit-rich corner of Brooklyn will be life changing – especially for lower- and middle-income New Yorkers who have been unable to afford to live in Gowanus. As we work to recover from the COVID pandemic, it’s vital that we create equitable and healthy communities. Under this plan, Gowanus will continue to be as creative and eclectic as it is today. It will also be affordable, significantly greener and more vibrant,” said CPC Chair Marisa Lago.

“The Gowanus neighborhood has been changing around us with as-of-right development over the last decade. As we emerge from the pandemic, we have a chance to steer its future in the direction of a more integrated, affordable and resilient community. Now that the public process is moving forward, we can have the conversations we need to ensure the rezoning plan addresses critical issues in Gowanus, including the clean up, infrastructure and funding for NYCHA,” said New York City Council Member Brad Lander.

“The Gowanus Rezoning plan has been developed over many years with hundreds of hours of community input. As we now move forward with the promise of creating much-needed affordable housing while preserving the industrial character of the neighborhood, we need to continue to ensure that the needs of the community are met,” said New York City Council Member Stephen Levin. “We need our public housing residents to have the repairs and improvements made to their homes that have been put off for too long. We need good jobs and local businesses to be preserved, and that the Gowanus Canal is protected from further contamination. I am confident we can achieve all these goals in the months and years to come. I want to thank everyone who has worked so hard to get where we are today.”

“HPD is proud to be a part of Gowanus’ future. Guided by the Gowanus Neighborhood Plan to build a more equitable, inclusive, resilient and sustainable place to live, we’re looking forward to what’s in store for this community,” said New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Louise Carroll. “Gowanus Green with its nearly 1,000 affordable homes will be a major anchor for this plan. I want to thank the Department of City Planning, the members of the Gowanus community and their elected representatives for their incredible partnership in advancing this important initiative.”

“Across New York City, NYCHA is finding ways to better connect our residents with the available resources in their surrounding communities and include their voices on the neighborhood improvements they would like to see,” said New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Chair & CEO Greg Russ. “The public review process for the Gowanus Neighborhood Plan is in keeping with that focus, and we look forward to hearing the many great ideas our Gowanus-based NYCHA residents have on their vision for the future of this exciting project.”

“DEP is investing billions of dollars in the Gowanus community to upgrade stormwater infrastructure and improve the health of the Canal,” said Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “In addition, we continue to build green infrastructure and are developing a new citywide stormwater rule to limit runoff from new construction – all with the goal of improving our shared environment.”

“As emphasized by the COVID-19 pandemic, access to open space is a must-have for New York City residents. Parks embraces opportunities to provide new recreational amenities, especially in areas underserved for open space, such as the Gowanus neighborhood,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “We look forward to working with our partners to improve the public's access to open space throughout the Gowanus area, and new waterfront access along a cleaned-up Gowanus Canal.”

The Gowanus Neighborhood Plan will produce multiple benefits for the community, among them: 

  • The plan would result in an estimated 8,500 new homes, 3,000 of them affordable, out of which approximately 2,000 will be permanently affordable on private sites under Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Program (MIH). That is enough total affordable homes for more than 6,000 New Yorkers.
    • Under the MIH program, all new residential buildings must include permanently affordable housing.
    • Current zoning rules do not permit the creation of new homes in this community.
    • Rents would be priced affordably to low-income New Yorkers. For example, many affordable two-bedroom apartments would have rents as low as around $900 per month in a neighborhood that currently has asking rents that are often greater than $2,500 per month.
    • The 100% affordable residential development known as Gowanus Green would bring up to 950 homes to the neighborhood. 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.
    • Gowanus Green will result in the cleanup and transformation of a long vacant six-acre City-owned site at the intersection of Smith Street and the Gowanus Canal, including green street infrastructure, a new 1.5-acre park and space for a new public school.
  • New development is required to clean up long-polluted brownfield sites along the Canal and throughout the neighborhood before construction can begin.
  • The creation of new and affordable housing would happen with new stormwater management requirements that would reduce annual combined sewer overflow (CSO) volumes when compared to a future without new development around the Gowanus Canal.
  • To ensure a green and resilient future, any new development on the Canal will be required to elevate their buildings and the waterfront esplanade and re-envision streets that connect to the Canal.
    • This requirement will mean a connected and accessible waterfront.
    • The upgrades will protect against long-term daily tidal flooding and allow for a quicker and less costly recovery after a storm.
    • They will usher in more stringent building codes for flood-resilient construction to protect residents and businesses.
  • The proposal includes innovative measures to make sure new development will:
    • Bring an appropriate number of new school seats as needed.
    • Incentivize transit improvements, including ADA accessible stations
    • Incentivize space for job-generating businesses in the commercial, cultural, industrial and retail sectors.
  • The Plan means 3,500 new permanent local jobs: from entry level to good paying jobs across sectors, from maker space, to office and medical services, food, beverage, retail and more.
    • Affordable housing and strong transit in this neighborhood make these jobs, as well as those in Downtown Brooklyn, Manhattan and other major central business districts, that much more accessible to lower income New Yorkers.
  • NYCHA is an essential part of the Gowanus community and Plan. The City will continue working closely with the Council Members and NYCHA residents during the public review process on incorporating priority capital improvements to Gowanus Houses and Wyckoff Gardens. (The Warren Street Houses are currently being renovated under NYCHA’s PACT program and that work is expected to be complete this coming fall.)
    • The Gowanus Houses Community Center is slated to receive a comprehensive upgrade that includes a newly renovated bathroom and kitchen; new fire alarm systems; and lighting, electrical, security and HVAC system upgrades. Construction is anticipated to start in summer 2022 with completion scheduled for December 2023. Wyckoff Gardens Community Center will receive brand new additions that include a teaching kitchen; women's and men's restrooms; and additional walkways at the center. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2021.
    • The plan will also better integrate the NYCHA campuses with the broader neighborhood through improved physical, social and economic connections to local resources.

The Gowanus Neighborhood Plan builds on numerous planning efforts since 2006 to create shared community goals and City priorities for the area’s future development, including the Bridging Gowanus recommendations of 2015.

Starting with a kickoff event in Oct. 2016, the City has held hundreds of meetings shaping this current proposal for Gowanus. In 2017, DCP also launched a two-year online engagement pilot,, that received over 17,000 visitors providing more 250 comments to inform the plan.

Zoning changes are proposed to reinforce the local economy and support job growth. This means maintaining established areas for light industrial, artist, commercial, and community activity, including those between 3rd and 4th Avenue and around 4th and Hoyt Streets. While increasing density, the new zoning rules seek to foster loft-style buildings sought after by businesses. With Gowanus supported by six subway stations serving 11 subway lines, the plan right-sizes parking and loading requirements in residential and business zoning districts for 21st Century needs.

Along the Canal, zoning would facilitate larger-scale mixed-use developments with active ground floors, housing, and an incentive for uses that reflect the neighborhood mix, such as light industrial and repair-based businesses, nonprofits, arts and culture and other job-generating uses. Newly active streetscapes, with shops and businesses, will surround a remediated, reconnected Thomas Green Playground that serves NYCHA residents.

Brooklyn Community Board 6 and Brooklyn Community Board 2 have 60 days to review the proposal, after which it will go to the Borough President, back to the City Planning Commission and ultimately to the City Council as part of the City’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP). For further information on the zoning proposal or the ULURP timetable, please visit