Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Voice of Gowanus Has Lawyered Up To Challenge Gowanus Rezoning

Voice of Gowanus at a press conference at noon today

Members of Voice of Gowanus held a press conference at noon today to announce that its coalition of neighborhood civic groups has retained a lawyer and an environmental consultant to challenge New York City's rezoning of the massive Gowanus rezoning from industrial/manufacturing to mostly residential.
Of course, Pardon Me For Asking was there to capture the event...and to speak.

Please take a look at the video to understand why VoG is opposed to the rezoning,
Below find Voice of Gowanus' statement on retaining legal council. I encourage everyone to contribute to Gowanus Legal Defense Fund

January 12, 2021 

Coalition Retains Counsel, Mulls Challenge To Gowanus Rezoning

GOWANUS, BROOKLYN – Voice of Gowanus, a grassroots community coalition, announced today that it has retained legal counsel and is contemplating possible legal challenges to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s and City Planning’s deeply flawed rezoning proposed for Gowanus, Brooklyn.

“The proposed rezoning stinks worse than the Gowanus Canal on a bad day,” said Katia Kelly of Voice of Gowanus. “We’ve retained counsel, and we’ll fight the city’s ill-advised plan in court if we must.”

Attorney Jason Zakai of the law firm Hiller, P.C. will represent Voice of Gowanus as legal counsel, working with the group’s legal committee, which itself is comprised of several attorneys. Hiller, PC is the leading opposition land-use, zoning and preservation law firm in New York City. Dedicated to preserving neighborhoods and protecting communities from out-of-control development, the firm regularly takes on legal challenges against arbitrary and capricious City land-use approvals, or those that violate lawful procedure.

“There are serious problems both with the massive rezoning proposal itself, and with the lack of transparency concerning the proposal, and we are looking into all legal options on behalf of our client,” Zakai said. “Rather than move forward with such a problematic plan, the City should go back to the drawing board and shelve it for another day.”

Voice of Gowanus previously launched the Gowanus Legal Defense Fund to raise financial support for the legal effort and continues to fundraise. An outpouring of community support for the Fund indicates the intense level of concern about a rezoning that stands to increase raw sewage overflows into the Gowanus Canal and compromise the Gowanus superfund cleanup.

The rezoning, which seeks to permit 22-30 story luxury residential towers in a vulnerable flood zone, also proposes placing housing on Public Place, one of the most toxic sites in the city, which will never be fully cleaned of plumes of carcinogenic coal tar extending 100 feet below the surface.

“We’re also excited to announced that Voice of Gowanus has retained environmental administrative law expert Maureen Koetz, a veteran of earlier fights against wanton rezoning actions here in New York City,” said Jack Riccobono of Voice of Gowanus. “We are ready to go to the mat to stop this incredibly unwise push to rezone a neighborhood during a pandemic.”

Voice of Gowanus has also repeatedly raised concerns about the city’s strange rush to ram the rezoning through during the middle of the global pandemic.

“Protecting our community’s rights to due process and ensuring that laws are followed even during a pandemic are top priorities for us,” said Brad Vogel of Voice of Gowanus. “Just because a mayor or council member’s term will be ending doesn’t mean the rules regarding land use review can be suspended. Especially when the proposed rezoning is as drastic and unsustainable as the one being put forward here in Gowanus.”

For more on Voice of Gowanus and concerns about the Gowanus rezoning: www.voiceofgowanus.org

Jack Riccobono of Voice of Gowanus
Brad Vogel, VoG member
Linda LaViolette of VoG


Anonymous said...

Great to see some group STANDING UP to the city's shameful shenanigans in Gowanus! Just donated.

Anonymous said...

Excellent Katia DeBlasio and Brad Lander are trying to get this done under the pandemic radar before they are out of office for their big developer contributors. They paid lots of money to these corrupt politicians.

Anonymous said...

Such excellent news. The neighborhood is in good hands.

Anonymous said...

This zoning plan would bring new environmental harm on top of the existing, while only some are being addressed.
So glad to see this effert to stand up for the the environment which we all hold in common.

Anonymous said...

Greetings Katia,

Way to go! Expose the trickery!