Gowanus Activists to Rally Against 12-Story Development

By Leslie Albrecht on August 8, 2013 7:30am 

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 Mayoral candidate Bill Thompson is expected to attend a rally against the Lightstone Group development.
Gowanus Activists to Rally Against 12-Story Development
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GOWANUS — Neighborhood activists will hold a protest Thursday against a 12-story residential development slated for the banks of the polluted Gowanus Canal.

The group Save Gowanus is hosting the rally at 7:30 p.m. on the Carroll Street bridge, which overlooks the spot where the Lightstone Groups plans a 700-unit complex that could bring more than 1,000 new residents to the neighborhood.

Lightstone filed plans with the city this week to start construction at 363-365 Bond Street. The city's Planning Commission approved the development in March.

"We want responsible development, and we don't feel that this it," said Save Gowanus member Carl Teitelbaum.

Opponents say the Lightstone development, which will sit on a raised plot of land from Carroll Street to Second Street, will worsen flooding in the already deluge-prone neighborhood by pushing water onto nearby streets. During Hurricane Sandy, nearly six feet of water gushed onto Bond Street, Teitelbaum said.

"We think this is going to have a catastrophic negative impact on the surrounding area if another Sandy occurs, which it will eventually," Teitelbaum said. "They're basically protecting their site while wreaking havoc on neighboring sites."

But a spokesman for Lightstone said Save Gowanus is spreading "disinformation" about the development.

"The rally organizers simply do not have the facts on their side," spokesman Ethan Geto said.

A complete environmental review was made of the site in 2009, then updated in 2013, Geto added. The analysis found that new development wouldn't worsen flooding, he said.

He added that Lightstone is constructing a bulkhead that will help stabilize the canal's shoreline, and adding new plantings next to the development that will absorb storm water.

City Councilman Brad Lander, who asked Lightstone to drop its development plans in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, asked the city in May to investigate the project's potential flood impacts. The request was denied, Teitelbaum said, so now activists are trying to raise money for their own flood study.

They're hoping the rally will put a spotlight on their cause.

Mayoral candidate Bill Thompson is scheduled to attend the protest.

"We're going to be listening to the concerns of citizens and how they'd like to see the area develop and move forward in a responsible manner," said Thompson spokesman John Collins, who added that Thompson doesn't want "piecemeal development" in Gowanus.

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