It finally happened. After years of planning, studies, criticism, compromises, and voting, the Gowanus Rezoning was finally approved by the City Council.
The Gowanus rezoning was originally conceived by former mayor Michael Bloomberg, but found new life near the end of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s time in office. It will rezone 80 square blocks that proponents estimate will resulte in 8,500 new housing units, including 3,000 permanently affordable units.
Members of multiple community organizations formed the Gowanus Neighborhood Coalition to ensure capital funding for local NYCHA complexes, a commitment to net zero combined sewage overflow in the Gowanus Canal, and the creation of an community-based task force.
The City Council incorporated the stipulations into the final plan. the three so-called “Points of Agreement” into their final legislation.
“It shows that many people will accept growth within their neighborhood if they are a real part of the planning process and see it as a way to achieve shared values,” said Councilman Brad Lander. Lander said. “This rezoning began nearly a decade ago in grassroots community conversations. It was strengthened through robust conversation in literally scores of meetings.”
The only no-vote for the rezoning came from Councilman Carlos Menchaca of Sunset park, who opposed a large rezoning proposal near Industry City in his district.
Members of the climate-focused organization Voice of Gowanus continue to argue that the rezoning ignores the greater needs of the highly polluted Gowanus Canal, which is designated as a federal Superfund site.
“As Brad Lander celebrates a massive violation of state and federal law today — one that endangers the safety of our community and the environment, and bends to the interests of big real estate — we note that a certain lady has not yet sung when it comes to the Gowanus rezoning,” the group wrote in a statement, threatening legal action against the city.
The Gowanus Rezoning is the largest land-use action of the de Blasio administration, a political win that the soon-to-be-former mayor celebrated.
“This is exactly the kind of thing we came here to do,” de Blasio wrote. “And it’s such a great pleasure to do this right as we’re finishing these eight years together.”
Incoming Mayor Eric Adams also released a statement praising the rezoning.
“Building a real recovery for our city requires forward-thinking investments that prioritize equitable growth, particularly in affluent neighborhoods that have not historically been asked to provide their fair share of New York City’s growth,” he said. “The Gowanus Neighborhood Plan passed by the City Council today represents a positive step toward that vision.”