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Gowanus Rezoning Input Sought From Neighborhood Residents This Week

By Leslie Albrecht | September 5, 2016 9:23am
 A canoer on the heavily polluted Gowanus Canal.
A canoer on the heavily polluted Gowanus Canal.
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New School

GOWANUS — Locals who want to weigh in on the future of swiftly changing Gowanus can bring their opinions to the Hall of the Gowanus this week.

The quirkily-named gallery (at 543 Union St., down the alley on Nevins Street) will host feedback sessions for City  Councilman Brad Lander's Bridging Gowanus — an effort to collect community input on how the neighborhood should develop.

This week's input sessions will be the last before the Department of City Planning launches a planning study of Gowanus this fall that could lead to rezoning Gowanus for residential development.

On Tuesday through Friday from noon to 6 p.m. there will be "drop-in hours" at the Hall of the Gowanus. Locals can give feedback there, but there won't be any staff present from Lander's office to answer questions.

On Thursday night from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., there will be an open house where Lander's staff will be on hand to talk to attendees.

If you can't make it person, you can fill out an online survey until Sept. 15.

The Bridging Gowanus process will create a list of recommendations that will help guide the Department of City Planning as it mulls a rezoning in the neighborhood.

This week's meetings won't be the only chance to give your two cents about a potential rezoning. Later this fall the Planning Department is expected to host its own public meetings on the issue. Any rezoning proposal will have to go through the city's lengthy public review process.

The city's move toward rezoning Gowanus comes as the industrial neighborhood and its polluted canal are both in the midst of massive change. Though the waterway still needs a Superfund cleanup, developers have snapped up property in the neighborhood, now a vibrant mix of makers, artists and businesses. Earlier this year, luxury rental apartments opened on the banks of the canal.

“It's not an exaggeration to say that if we don’t do anything, it's going to become a whole bunch of hotels and self-storage facilities with a few entertainment uses thrown in, and that's not the Gowanus people want," Lander told DNAinfo New York in a recent interview.

"Is there risk in planning for growth in a way that includes some residential development? Of course there is. … But I think people believe there's a chance to get it right."

MAP: Properties Poised for Development in Gowanus


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