Gowanus rezoning plan expected next week

Developers and planning experts expect the city to reveal its rezoning plan for Gowanus as early as next week.

The zoning proposal would be a major step in the de Blasio administration’s vision to remake the once-industrial Brooklyn neighborhood, which in recent years has welcomed a smattering of high-end residential development and trendy bars and restaurants.

The city released a preliminary zoning plan during the summer that broadly outlined where it would like to add density and spur residential and commercial development. The upcoming zoning proposal is expected to provide greater detail, including the specific size allowances for new development in the low-rise neighborhood.

The proposal could provide a first look at details of a public esplanade along the Gowanus Canal, such as where public access points to the new walkway will be located and how it might be integrated into new development along the water.

The plan also could reveal whether developers along the canal will be able to build residential and mixed-use buildings larger than initially planned. Developers lobbied the Department of City Planning in recent months for greater density around the canal to help offset what they argued were greater costs involved in building on those sites, including remediating contaminated soil, building the public esplanade and installing protective measures to handle potential flooding.

After the proposal is released, City Planning plans to solicit public comments and potentially modify its proposal based on the feedback.

The city is expected to begin the uniform land use review process, ULURP, by the end of the year. ULURP requires the approval of the City Council, but local Councilman Brad Lander has supported the city’s rezoning plans. If it is passed, the rezoning could take effect next year.

The rezoning could spur the construction of thousands of residential apartments, including affordable units required by the city’s mandatory inclusionary housing plan, as well as hundreds of thousands of square feet of office, light industrial and artist space.

“This has been the dream of Brooklyn planners for decades,” said Mitch Korbey, chair of the law firm Herrick Feinstein’s land-use practice. He represents several developers that own parcels in the neighborhood.

“This plan preserves the neighborhood’s history but also creates a new community that segues Park Slope and Carroll Gardens,” Korbey said. “It’s enormously exciting.”

SOURCE: Section Page News – Crain’s New York Business – Read entire story here.