Petition Up to Protest New Gowanus Development

Following the Community Board Six land-use meeting in which the Lightstone Group presented its proposal to develop along the Gowanus Canal, a group of Gowanus residents remain concerned. In anticipation of the full Community Board Six meeting this Wednesday, they started a petition to call for a new environmental review at the site. (Lightstone does not need a full environmental review since the Toll Brothers proposal was already approved through the ULURP process. They are seeking only minor modifications to the Toll plan.) The land-use committee voted that the Department of City Planning table the Lightstone Group proposal. As the petition states, “We need to let CB6 know that these recommendations have widespread community support.” At the meeting last month, some residents expressed support for revitalizing the site and opening up the waterfront; others expressed concern about the lack of infrastructure to support the development and the state of the Superfund site. Today the issue also received the New York Times treatment, which quotes more residents about what they think of the plans.
Grand Plan for a Toxic Site Is Scorned and Celebrated [NY Times]
Long List of Concerns for Gowanus Rental Development [Brownstoner]
Neighbors Concerned About Gowanus Development [Brownstoner]
All the Details on Lightstone’s Gowanus Development [Brownstoner]
New Developer Eyes Toll Brothers’ Old Gowanus Site [Brownstoner]

6 Comment

  • Those “minor modifications” are not actually so minor, which is one of the issues at hand. Lightstone is spending plenty of money on lobbyists –with at least three different lobby firms currently working to get their plan through (targeting the Department of City Planning, among others). Maybe that’s how they convinced DCP that their mods were “minor”? Also, at the Public Hearing, three times as many people were opposed to the project as were for it, and the majority of the folks on the “pro” side do not live in the neighborhood; it is misleading to state this as “some residents” are for it and “other residents” are against it. It would be better stated as “most” residents are against it and “a few” are for it.

  • Very true! In addition it should be noted that the few people in the community supporting the project all have interests in it going forward. The Gowanus dredgers getting a boat house is an obvious one. Eymund Diegel who is pictured in the NY article, was hired by Toll Brothers to do a study on the site. (another example is Proteus Gowanus getting a Gallery space within the “Gowanus Green” development further down the canal).

    People in the community are not against the development but rather against its size. Most people see the benefit of new public space by the canal, but that doesn’t need to come with 12 story towers. “3rd and Bound” (very well documented on Brownstoner) has already demonstrated that smaller development makes enough financial sense for developers already, even in a downturn.

    • Buildings like 3rd and Bond manage to make financial sense for developers by consisting of very high-end, expensive luxury condos. Bigger developments are able to be a little more affordable by adding more to supply. I don’t think that’s such a bad thing – I wouldn’t have been able to move to Gowanus initially years ago if there wasn’t some cheap rental housing. And I have no problem with a taller building – this would likely be more attractive than the various tall hotels that are already here.

      To your main point – well, I’m “in the community”, and I’m in favor of the project purely because I think it will improve the area, and I don’t have any other vested interest. Most people I talk to think similarly. So I think you’re mistaken – generally, the people with complaints are the only ones you hear. There’s broader support around than you think.

  • An additional note – If the the woman quoted in the Times article as being worried about the addition of so many toilets flushing into the canal is representative of opponents’ understanding of how infrastructure works, then… just… oy.

    Let’s get this straight. Toilets flush into the sewer system. Storm drains, unfortunately, dump rainwater into the same pipes. Gowanus shares a sewer system with the rest of Brooklyn. When it rains, sometimes the sewage processing plants for the Borough get overloaded, and dump excess into the Gowanus Canal, among a number of other places. That release represents the combined stormwater/sewage overflow from a large swath of Brooklyn, including Park Slope, Carroll Gardens – all the neighboring areas. The canal just happens to be the exit point. So whether toilets (apartments) are located on the banks of the canal or a half mile away in Downtown Brooklyn has NOTHING TO DO with how much overflow gets dumped into the canal. This lady would be much better served protesting the huge developments on Flatbush or by Atlantic Yards than the ones in Gowanus, if she’s purely worried about sewage volume. But moreover, the overflow is caused by STORMWATER. Not too many toilet flushes.

    Okay, /infrastructure rant. That’s just an irksome lack of understanding to display if you’re going to go to the trouble of protesting something.

  • Anyone who would willingly pay money to live adjacent to the Gowanus Canal is out of his/her f-ng mind IMHO.