Community Board Six Votes Against Rental Building on Gowanus Canal

By Heather Holland on September 28, 2012 9:12am 

CARROLL GARDENS — Community Board Six’s Land Use committee voted against the Lightstone Group's proposal to build a 700-unit rental building on the Gowanus Canal.

At least 100 members of the community attended an Assembly meeting held by the community board’s Land Use committee on Thursday night, where the developer made a presentation of its proposal to build a rental building, similar to the original Toll Brothers proposal, at 363-365 Bond St.

“We will not only be cleaning the land and the contaminants that maybe there, but we are also doing major things, costing millions of dollars,” said Ethan Geto, a spokeman for the Lightstone Group.

“Including the placement of a new bulkhead at the barrier of the canal, which is currently highly deteriorated.”

Lightstone Group assured community members that the new building would be capped at 12 stories, include 20 percent affordable housing, specifically 140 units, and include an esplanade that would be open to the public.

The developer also claimed that the development would have a neutral impact on the environment, that they would be purchasing new storm sewers, a bulkhead, and green roofs to ensure that the Canal isn’t contaminated any further.

Members of the committee, however, weren’t convinced and asked that the developer obtain a new Environmental Impact Statement. The committee also asked that the building be capped at eight stories instead of 12, before giving the developer a red light.

The developer claimed that while the new proposal would include about 150 more units than the original Toll Brother Proposal, which proposed 447, there would only be a 20 percent increase in population.

This might mean hundreds more students flooding into the areas zoned schools like P.S. 32 and The New Horizon School middle school.

“Obviously, a large increase in school-age children zoned for P.S. 32, in an area of Brooklyn with already over-crowded schools, would have an impact upon us and others in District 15,” said Larissa Bailiff, PTA president of P.S. 32.

One resident praised the proposal for bringing more affordable housing.

“It is important to take it one step at a time,” said Bill Duke, another resident. “In my experience, there is a big shortage of affordable housing in this neighborhood.”

Despite the committee’s disapproval, the proposal can still be approved by the city's Department of Planning.

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