Press Releases

For Immediate Release
December 3, 2020

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

DCP Announces Innovative Infrastructure Measures to Support Gowanus Neighborhood Plan

New zoning mechanisms and stormwater rules will lead to a cleaner canal, new schools, improved ADA access to subways

NEW YORK – Department of City Planning (DCP) Director Marisa Lago today announced new policies for the Gowanus Neighborhood Plan, ones that would make sure new development will manage more stormwater on their lots, relieve pressure on combined sewer overflow (CSO) infrastructure, bring an appropriate number of new school seats and incentivize transit improvements, including ADA accessible stations.        

“By working closely with Gowanus residents, leaders and businesses, and alongside other City agencies, we've come up with creative – and desperately needed – solutions to many of this community’s most pressing concerns: that local subway stations are accessible, that new developments will manage stormwater runoff to support the health of the Gowanus Canal, and that school seats will be addressed if needed. With these new policies, Gowanus will be a cleaner, greener and more equitable neighborhood – for its current residents and for generations to come,” said DCP Director Marisa Lago.

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. “As we develop the new citywide stormwater rule to limit runoff from new construction, we will continue to engage and update the Gowanus community on the benefits it will deliver for their neighborhood.”

“As we seek a just and durable economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, the Gowanus Neighborhood Rezoning offers us an opportunity to build a more affordable, integrated, vibrant and sustainable community than the one we have today. But growth must come with the infrastructure needed to sustain it – for new families and businesses, and for those of us who live and work here today. That’s why we’ve worked hard to win a new stormwater rule to prevent new construction from adding additional sewage outflows into the Canal, a resilient waterfront esplanade along the Canal, and innovative school and transit zoning tools to guarantee that we’ll have the school seats, subway access and sustainable open space to nurture our families for generations to come,” said NYC Council Member Brad Lander.

The three announcements today are:

SCHOOLS – The Gowanus Neighborhood Plan would map a Gowanus special district with zoning rules that encourage the inclusion of public schools as part of new mixed-use residential buildings if seats are needed, as determined by the School Construction Authority. New tools will provide incentives for developers to include district schools in new construction. Throughout the rezoning area, the City would cover the cost of the school itself, while the developer provides the space within their building.

STORMWATER MANAGEMENT – DEP is developing a new citywide rule for on-site stormwater management for new buildings that will reduce stormwater runoff from future development properties. Even after creating an estimated 8,000 new homes, 3,000 of them affordable, the updated rule means new development could result in an approximately 5% (about five million gallons) reduction in CSO volumes per year when compared to a future without new development around the Gowanus Canal. This further bolsters the investments already being made in and around the neighborhood to keep the Canal cleaner and healthier.

TRANSIT BONUS – In addition to the previously announced transit easement zones, the Gowanus Neighborhood Plan would now also include a zoning incentive for developers to build new subway station improvements, such as wider stairs and ADA accessible elevators. In exchange for funding and constructing significantly improved access, including elevators at subway stations along 4th Avenue, zoning would allow new developments additional floor area of up to 20%. Identified in coordination with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and their planned program of accessibility improvements, the stations are: Atlantic Avenue, Union Street and 4th Avenue/9th Street, all on the R line, though the latter station is also on the F and G lines. This zoning incentive will increase accessibility to transit for disabled and elderly riders, parents and others. It will also support the neighborhood as additional people use the subway to reach new businesses and homes, and will help Gowanus become a more transit-oriented and energy-efficient neighborhood.

These new measures will accompany previously announced aspects of the Gowanus Neighborhood Plan, including permanently affordable housing, arts and culture, brownfield remediation, new parks, a strong industrial sector, waterfront access and more. The City recently announced that the Gowanus Green project, located on city-owned land, will be 100% affordable and include a new school.  

The Gowanus Neighborhood Plan is expected to begin the formal public review process (ULURP) in January.