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Gowanus Rezoning Study Launches as City Announces Kickoff Meeting

 A canoer on the heavily polluted Gowanus Canal.
A canoer on the heavily polluted Gowanus Canal.
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New School

GOWANUS — The city officially put Gowanus on its list of neighborhoods targeted for rezoning Thursday, announcing that the area will undergo a "collaborative planning process" aimed at creating affordable housing and preserving jobs in the fast-changing industrial neighborhood.

The Department of City Planning will hold a kickoff meeting launching the process Oct. 27 at 6:30 p.m. at P.S. 32, 317 Hoyt St., DCP said on its website.

Gowanus will undergo a "PLACES" study, the same planning process the city used in East Harlem, East New York, Long Island City and other neighborhoods Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration tapped for rezoning as part of its affordable housing strategy.

► RELATED: The Mayor's Rezoning Plan Is 6 Months Old. Here's How it's Going So Far

The city's goals in Gowanus are to "foster a thriving neighborhood by reinforcing and encouraging a robust local economy anchored by a mix of uses and businesses, while creating opportunities for new housing with affordable housing in appropriate locations," according to the Planning Department’s website.

Planners say they'll build on City Councilman Brad Lander's Bridging Gowanus initiative in their study. Lander finished up his planning effort this past summer with a series of workshops where residents were invited to list their priorities for the future of Gowanus.

The neighborhood surrounding the infamous Gowanus Canal is now one of the hottest real estate markets in Brooklyn, with developers shelling out millions for contaminated property along the canal.

The question of whether to allow taller residential buildings in the mostly low-rise industrial neighborhood is one of several hot-button issues planners will confront as they evaluate Gowanus. Locals also worry about how to preserve blue collar jobs, maintain the neighborhood's threatened arts scene, and protect the flood zone from a deluge of development.

To stay informed on the Department of City Planning's PLACES study of Gowanus, sign up for email notifications.


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