Thursday, May 02, 2013

Save Gowanus Association Ready To Legally Challenge Lightstone Group's Gowanus Project

rendering by Lightstone Group
Last night's Save Gowanus Association meeting at Mary Star Of The Sea
Gowanus Resident Warren Cohen
Debbie Stoller, local resident
Carl Teitelbaum, Gowanus Resident
Lizzie Olesker, local resident

The 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
Brooklyn 11231
The next Save Gowanus Association meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 5th at 7 PM at Mary Star Of The Sea

In the meantime, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has received a Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) application and Remedial Investigation Work Plan (RIWP) from (Lightstone) LSG 400 Carroll Street LLC and LSG 363 Bond Street LLC for 400 Carroll Street and 363 Bond Street, site ID #C224173.

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.


Anonymous said...

I am having difficulty accessing the site to donate towards SGA legal fees. Also, is there a FB page? That type of social media reaches alot of people.
If LICH can be saves, so can the Gowanus!

Katia said...

I just fixed the link to the website.
You can also copy and paste:

The information about donating can be found right on that web site, but I also added a better link to PAY PAL in the post.

I agree. If we can save LICH, this should be feasible.

Anonymous said...

Also take action by sending concerns to DEP on the State Brownfield Cleanup Program. Send to:

John Grathwol, NYS DEC- Division of Environmental Remediation
Remedial Bureau B,
625 Broadway, 12th Floor,
Albany, NY 12233-7016,

Under this program NY State tax payers can cove up to 25% of the entire development costs.

Anonymous said...

I tried the PayPal link just now, but it wouldn't connect. Mary

Katia said...

The Pay Pal link on the website is up again.
Thanks for your donation.

Anonymous said...

a law school clinic does not determine violations of best they could allege