Last night's Save Gowanus Association meeting at Mary Star Of The Sea
Debbie Stoller, local resident
Carl Teitelbaum, Gowanus Resident
Lizzie Olesker, local residentThe Save Gowanus Association held a meeting last night at Mary Star Of The Sea on First Street to inform and to organize against the 12-story, 700-unit Lightstone Group's project that is moving forward at 363-365 Bond Street.
The group is composed of Gowanus residents and home-owners living near the site on Bond Street between Carroll Street and 2nd Street, as well as members of civic groups Friends of Bond (FOB) and Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus (FROGG).
Most of those in attendance were all too familiar with the project and had issues with it moving forward, especially in light of the flooding and damage caused by Hurricane Sandy in October 2013.
Gowanus resident Warren Cohen gave a brief overview of the project. He explained how the land was spot-re-zoned by NYC Department Of Planning (DCP) from manufacturing to mixed use. How Toll Brothers, the original developer of the site, walked away when the Environmental Protection Agency declared the Gowanus Canal a Superfund site and how Lightstone took over the project and increased the original number of units from 440 to 700.
FROGG member Marlene Donnelly explained that the Gowanus Canal was originally engineered to drain the upland marshland surrounding the canal in order to keep water away from residences in Carroll Gardens and Park Slope. She explained that Lightstone plans to raise the site of the development by two feet at First Street to address FEMA's recently released post-Sandy Advisory Base Flood Elevations and to comply with changes to the Building Code.
This change in hydrology raises serious concerns about flooding and drainage in the Gowanus area. It may mean more problems for nearby residents, who deal with flooded basements on an ongoing basis.
Before the project goes forward, Save Gowanus Association wants to make sure that the environmental consequences of this project are fully understood.
Since City Planning allowed Lightstone Group to piggy back onto Toll Brothers' project-specific 2009 Environmental Impact Study (EIS) and Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), certain key issues were not considered. One can make a strong case that a new Impact Study and ULURP are needed in light of several factors:
-New knowledge of the pollution after EPA declared the area a Superfund
-FEMA's amended post-Sandy flood maps for the area
-The proposed change in grade for the property.
There appear to be indications that Lightstone Group is not following the legal process and that NYC Planning has been complicit in moving this through all along.
(In November 2012, Brooklyn Law School Clinic found that City Planning was in violation of Article 78 in regards to Lightstone's 'minor modifications' to the project.)
Save Gowanus Association has retained Jeff Baker of YoungSommer, an environmental, zoning and land use lawyer. to advise and represent the group.
If you would like to donate towards the legal fees, please write a check to:
Save Gowanus Association
374 Bond Street
The application is available for review at the Carroll Gardens Library. Comments regarding this application must be submitted to DEC no later than June 1, 2013.