Council Members Express More Lightstone Concerns


Council members local pols Brad Lander, Nydia Velazquez and Velmanette Montgomery wrote a letter to City Hall in light of the most recent Gowanus flooding, asking for the city to consider the adverse hydrologic impacts on properties resulting from regrading large development sites within flood hazards areas. Of course, they specifically mention the proposed 700-unit, 12-story development for the Lightstone site, where the developers plan to regrade the site by raising it by two feet at 1st Street. The developers are regrading because of new building standards set after Hurricane Sandy. But, because the Gowanus Canal is a long, narrow tidal waterway lined by buildings, the neighbors are worried that regrading will actually cause floodwaters to be pushed out to more properties, as well as impede drainage from properties further inland. The letter asks if there will be any investigation into the effects of regrading around the Gowanus Canal to come up with a development approach specific to that waterway. As Pardon Me for Asking, which printed the letter in full, said, “it is encouraging that our Electeds recognize the hydrological impact to surrounding areas if developers like Lightstone are allow[ed] to regrade the Gowanus area. We need a new hydrological study before any new development moves forward.”
Politicians Ask City to Evaluate Hydrologic Impact of Large Elevated Sites [PMFA]
Photo via Storify

11 Comment

  • Point of information, Nydia Velasquez is a member of Congress and V. Montgomery is a State Senator

  • “Local residents have paranoid fantasies, politicians cater to them. News at 11.”

  • People and our politicians need to be better informed before making such statements. A few comments:

    -if the issue of concern is flooding due to storm surges, then the number of units in the development is irrelevant. The key factor is the land area and how storm water is captured and drained.

    -in that regard, new development is a positive thing. All new developments in the city are required to install holding tanks to temporarily contain storm water before it goes into the sewer lines. The idea is to not let sudden surges of storm water overwhelm the sewer lines. I believe the tanks must be sized to contain 50% of a storm surge, but I may be wrong on this. In any case, the net effect is that there will be less stress on the sewer lines during a storm, and less probabilty of flooding.

    -the fact that they are raising the grade at this site will not impede drainage from inland sites. Drainage is handled by the sewer lines and as mentioned above, holding tanks in new development actually reduces the load on them during a storm surge.

  • Obviously the only sensible thing to do is to move everybody out of Gowanus, tear down all of the buildings, and allow the area to revert to wetlands.

  • “Point of information, Nydia Velasquez is a member of Congress and V. Montgomery is a State Senator”

    Shloppy.

  • Did anyone else walk in waist high water the other day? And assuem this isn’t an ongoing problem that could get worse?

    Totally disagree with return of benson – the point is the re=grading of the land proposed by Lightstone would prevent rainfall from flowing into the gowanus as it has for the past 150 years…so there would be a second canal on Bond Street. Lightstone may be protected – but the neighborhood is not.

    And in another issue unrelated to the letter, the number of units in a development still matter- the sewer system is already overwhelmed (hence the CSO problem) evne if lightstone has holding tanks, it means that much more concentrated muck from the part that’s not run off make the sewers even more foul than before.

    why would any taxpayer support 700 apartments in hurricane zone a (a toxic flood zone no less.) us taxpayers are going to have to pay for the residents food and shelter and rebuilding (higher premiums) during evacuations. It makes no sense anymore.

    • “And in another issue unrelated to the letter, the number of units in a development still matter- the sewer system is already overwhelmed (hence the CSO problem) evne if lightstone has holding tanks, it means that much more concentrated muck from the part that’s not run off make the sewers even more foul than before.”

      Incorrect. The city has enough capacity to treat its sewage under most circumstances. If you go to NYC.gov, you will see that the city’s #1 capital expense item has been upgrading its water and sewage system. The only remaining issue on the sewage side is the CSO problem during flash storms and new developments/holding tanks help alleviate this problem, as I discussed above.

      “the point is the re=grading of the land proposed by Lightstone would prevent rainfall from flowing into the gowanus as it has for the past 150 years…so there would be a second canal on Bond Street”

      Rainfall flowing into the canal is a euphemism for flooding/primitive drainage systems. We live in a modern city, not some rural hamlet, and our drainage is handled by sewers.

      There is a quality development in the Rockaways called “Arverne-by-the-Sea”. The first thing the developers did was to raise the grade of the land by something like 5 feet. Google the NYT article about how this development fared during Hurricane Sandy versus the less well developed areas of the Rockaways.

      • I think what gowanusgus is getting at is that if Lightstone adds 1MM cubic feet of earth to its parcel, in a flood situation that earth displaces 1MM cubic feet of water that needs somewhere else to go. Generally it causes the banks to rise upstream which means more properties flood.

  • I think you are grossly misinformed. Averne by the sea built their own heavy duty drainage system with underground chambers, wide street mains and storm drains on each house property — that connects to large sewer mains that the developer installed in public streets that they rebuilt around the project site, as part of an agreement with the city, In Gowanus, we have the Bond sewer that is going on 150 years old. The Lightstone property was never designed to be a part of that system–one that can’t serve the existing community already. Lightstone isn’t giving us new large sewer mains in our public streets. They can’t say that their new structures will be better when they are tying into this old structure.

  • why would any taxpayer support 700 apartments in hurricane zone a (a
    toxic flood zone no less.) us taxpayers are going to have to pay for the
    residents food and shelter and rebuilding (higher premiums) during
    evacuations.

    **

    Good questions.

  • obvious that people are against the buildings – even if were sitting on high ground. It is the addition of more housing they are really against and trying hard to find some reasons to stop it.
    Same folks were against the bldg on corner of Smith and above subway entrance.