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Gowanus rezoning needs protections for low-income tenants, say locals

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A new coalition has been formed to protect the rights of low-income tenants

By Max Touhey

A proposed rezoning of Gowanus has prompted local residents to demand protection for low-income tenants in the neighborhood, DNAInfo reports. The city launched a zoning study of the neighborhood in October last year, and local residents have been concerned about a potential onslaught of luxury developments, if the rezoning moves forward.

Local residents and housing advocates have banded together under a group now calling itself the Gowanus Neighborhood Coalition for Justice. Notable groups that are part of this coalition include the Fifth Avenue Committee (FAC), and the Gowanus Canal Conservancy.

A recent study conducted by FAC revealed that the number of rent-stabilized apartments dropped by 22 percent between 2007 and 2014 in the neighborhoods of Gowanus, Park Slope, Boerum Hill and Carroll Gardens—in comparison, the city overall experienced a six percent drop during the same time period. At present, 33 percent of the housing stock in Gowanus is affordable, according to the FAC.

In addition to protecting low-income tenants, the group is also wants to preserve small and industrial businesses in the neighborhood, and is also calling for infrastructural improvements.

The opening of the Gowanus Canal-fronting, dual rentals at 363 and 365 Bond Street has increased this sense of urgency among local residents and they want to ensure that the rampant development in the neighboring Park Slope doesn’t occur in their neighborhood.