Monday, June 23, 2014

Final "Bridging Gowanus" Meeting This Wednesday: If You Live In Or Near Gowanus, You Need To Be There

The third and final Bridging Gowanus meeting has been scheduled for this Wednesday, June 25th, and I urge everyone who lives in or near Gowanus to attend.  
The apparent goal of Bridging Gowanus, as it has been explained to participants, is a community supported blueprint to help shape the De Blasio Administration's thinking about the Gowanus Canal as well as "build consensus around a neighborhood framework for the infrastructure and land use regulations needed in the Gowanus Canal area."

How much Mayor deBlasio can be influenced remains to be seen.  After all, as our councilman from 2001 to 2009, DeBlasio was an outspoken supporter of the re-zoning of the shores of the Gowanus canal from manufacturing to residential and we can thank him for the 700-unit Lightstone project that is currently being built at Bond Street adjacent to the polluted canal.  DeBlasio was also a staunch opponent of the EPA placing the Gowanus Canal on its list of Superfund sites, though the community saw it as the only hope of ever getting the waterway cleaned up.Instead of supporting his constituents, DeBlasio proceeded to support the New York City Plan which scoffed at the facts and scientific findings of the EPA.

Bridging Gowanus was confined jointly by Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, Assemblywoman Joan Millman, Council Member Stephen Levin, and Council Member Brad Lander back in August 2013.
To facilitate the conversation Pratt Center for Community Development (not to be confused with Pratt Institute) has been hired as consultant in charge of running the process.

I have now attended and reported on all except one of the Bridging Gowanus sessions. I have tried to put aside my cynicism and hoped that, as promised, the outcome of the process would allow the Gowanus community to plan for its own future.
But make no mistake, Gowanus has already been divided amongst developers who are ready to build residential development on the shores of the canal with the blessing of newly-elected Mayor De Blasio. The Bridging Gowanus process is, in my humble opinion, a carefully orchestrated process that gives the appearance of community input.
At the end, we will most likely just end up with what New York City has planned for the area since 2009.

That is why it is so important that you all come out on Wednesday, whether you live or work in Gowanus, Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill, or Park Slope,

As a community, we need to remind our politicians that before moving ahead with any re-zoning, we need a health study to gage the effects of exposure to the environmental hazards in Gowanus. Secondly, we need a hydrological study to evaluate the effect of new development in this flood prone area.
Most importantly, we need assurances from Mayor De Balsio that the City Of New York will pay and follow through on the EPA-mandated retention basins that will help reduce the Combined Sewer Overflows and improve water quality in the canal. Without these studies and without the retention basins, planning more housing in Gowanus seem "recklessly premature."

Wyckoff Gardens Community Center
280 Wyckoff St
6:30 – 9:00 PM

Please let others know abut the meeting.


Anonymous said...

From the discussion at these meetings, there should be only one outcome from all this, and that is to assert that the current zoning for the industrial area is working but needs the support that bring security to businesses to encourage growth,---so they will not be displaced by the threat of allowing housing to infiltrate.

There ale needs to be support for the existing affordable housing on the periphery of the industrial zoning, because it has taken a major hit form all the speculation form developers wanting to put up big residential projects in the swamp lands of the canal industrial zones.

Anonymous said...

Fully agree 9:29. Industry needs to be protected. It is thriving. And a more appropriate use of land in Gowanus.

Anonymous said...

Katia (or anyone) do you know what the procedure for this rezoning is? Once Pratt collects information and feedback from participants what did Pratt do with it if anything? When Pratt comes up with a plan will it presented to the community for their input? Will it go to CB6? City Planning? Brad, so far, has seemed unwilling to explain this process in any detail. Or maybe I missed it. There hasn't been any meaningful dialogue between the electeds and the people they represent.

I'm not sure what we can expect as developers and others who do not live or work in Gowanus have been participating in this supposed community driven process. In one of my group sessions most of the table was supportive of large residential development. Some thought industrial use would be incompatible with maintaining a clean canal and that there should be one use for the entire length of the canal. And if that's the case then Councilmember Menchaca better keep an eye on it which he probably should do anyway.

I'm sure their is a plan. The larger community just isn't privy to it.

Anonymous said...

Diblasio - you get what you voted for