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
NEW YORK— 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:
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.”
“The Gowanus Rezoning shows that it is possible for New Yorkers to plan together for a more inclusive and sustainable city. That many people will accept growth in their neighborhood if they are a real part of the planning process and see it as a way to achieve shared values,” said Council Member Brad Lander. “This rezoning began in community conversations, was strengthened through the advocacy of the Gowanus Neighborhood Coalition for Justice and the robust participation of so many neighbors through Community Board 6 and featured a partnership approach from City Planning and City Hall. That ensured that the plan to open up Gowanus to housing development would come along with real commitments to affordability and preserving the mixed-use character of the neighborhood, the renovation of neighboring public housing, and serious investments in the sewer, transit, parks and school infrastructure needed to support inclusive growth. The plan we voted on today, the first MIH rezoning in a whiter, wealthier area, includes the strongest affordability and sustainability requirements ever imposed on developers in NYC. As we recover from the pandemic, Gowanus provides a model for the more integrated, vibrant, and resilient New York City we can build for the future.”
"This rezoning is truly reflective of the community's input and needs. Throughout my term, and that of Council Member Lander, the future of the Gowanus neighborhood has been a topic of many meetings and community planning sessions. Now we have arrived at a plan that truly benefits the community by providing up to 3000 permanently affordable apartments, substantial investment in the capital needs of Wyckoff Gardens and Gowanus Houses, and improvements in our public spaces and drainage infrastructure. My thanks to the members of the Gowanus Neighborhood Coalition for Justice, the City Council Land use staff and the staff at the Brooklyn office of City planning, Council Member Lander, and Deputy Mayor Bean and her staff. We can all be proud of what we have achieved," said Council Member Stephen Levin.
"The Gowanus rezoning is different. It's different because we put inclusion, equity, the environment, NYCHA tenants, accountability, and justice at the center of this rezoning. It's different because GNCJ's dynamic multiracial coalition of NYCHA tenants, affordable housing, environmental, industrial and arts advocates and civic and religious leaders came together with our incredible Councilmembers Brad Lander and Steve Levin in partnership. We would not back down until we secured GNCJ's top demands and in that process we built trust in each other and an expectation that the Adams administration and our next Councilmembers will follow through on these hard-fought commitments. A sincere thank you to Councilmembers Lander and Levin. GNCJ couldn't have accomplished this out you. A thank you too to Mayor de Blasio, Deputy Mayor Been and their team. This is a rezoning the administration can be proud of, " said Michelle de la Uz, Executive Director of Fifth Avenue Committee.
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