Brooklyn, NY – New York City Council Member Brad Lander issued the following statement in response to the Gowanus Draft Zoning Proposal released today by the New York City Department of City Planning:

“The Gowanus Draft Zoning Proposal is a strong next step toward the sustainable, inclusive, mixed-use neighborhood that the community has been envisioning for many years. The draft zoning proposal released today — along with updates to the framework released last spring — includes elements designed to:

  • Insure a dynamic, environmentally restored, and resilient new waterfront along the Gowanus Canal. Developers will be required to design a waterfront esplanade attentive to climate change.  
  • Create thousands of units of much-needed affordable and market-rate housing, in a diverse neighborhood, with integrated schools and public spaces.
  • Generate new investments to bring long overdue improvements to the neighborhood NYCHA developments.
  • Preserve key historic buildings and connect neighbors to Gowanus historic and cultural resources.
  • Make the infrastructure investments we need in transit, school seats, drainage/flooding, and sustainability. These will need to be further developed through the environmental review process, and committed before the plan is adopted.
  • Launch an innovative approach to preserving the “Gowanus mix.” In addition to allowable residential and retail/commercial uses, developers building along the Canal and around Thomas Greene Park will have floor-area-ratio they can only use for light manufacturing, arts, artisan, and not-for-profits uses. The plan will also preserve some blocks for manufacturing and commercial uses.
  • Continue to move forward on a plan for the Gowanus Industrial Business Zone (IBZ), to explore land use, infrastructure, and workforce investments to support job generation.
  • Build a new public park along the canal at the “public place” site, tied into a Gowanus greenscape of open spaces on and off the canal.

I know that not everyone is excited about the idea of new residential and commercial development at heights taller than the surrounding brownstone neighborhoods. But I genuinely believe we are on the way to getting the balance right.

If we keep working together, listening to community voices, having honest conversations about hard issues, pushing ourselves to be creative and mindful of our shared values, we will be able to make one of the largest rezonings of the de Blasio Administration also turn out to be one of the best.”