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Gowanus rezoning proposal to be unveiled in February

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The plan is expected to morph the gritty, low-rise area into a hot neighborhood of residential towers

Gowanus, Brooklyn
Nathan Kensinger

The city will reveal a new proposal to rezone Gowanus at a February community meeting, the latest step in the de Blasio administration’s plan to morph the gritty, low-rise industrial area into a neighborhood filled with new, more dense buildings.

In a preliminary zoning proposal released last summer, the city outlined its plan to boost density and drive residential and commercial development. City officials will likely seek to permit Gowanus Canal-adjacent lots for a “moderate” scale of eight to 10 stories, but one proposed change would drastically recreate one of the neighborhood’s busiest thoroughfares.

The initial framework was developed after two years of gathering input and calls for a stretch of Fourth Avenue between Pacific and 15th Street to participate in the city’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program, which requires builders set aside a portion of units at below-market rates. In return, the city would rezone those 24 blocks for towers to rise up to 17 stories in certain sections, according to the initial proposal.

Over the last six months, the Department of City Planning (DCP) and a multi-agency city team have worked to develop a second draft, weaving in feedback on the plan.

In recent months, developers who have scooped up lots along the canal have come together to lobby the city for larger buildings to rise on the blighted banks of the waterway, which is amid a years-long federal Superfund cleanup at the hands of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The city is expected to publicly release its latest zoning proposal any day now. Come February 6, DCP has invited locals to gather at P.S. 32—317 Hoyt Street—at 6 p.m. to discuss new plan.

“Attendees will have the opportunity to take a deep dive into the draft zoning proposal and non-zoning strategies and to discuss, give feedback and ask questions of City agencies,” according to DEC. “Attendees will also learn more about next steps in the neighborhood planning process.”