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Gowanus rezoning could move forward next week, claims city

gowanus rezoning
A sketch of development along the Gowanus with the neighborhood's rezoning.
Department of City Planning

A state judge might allow the contentious Gowanus rezoning to move forward next week after a three-month court battle, city officials claimed Friday evening.

“Today, New York Supreme Court Justice [Katherine] Levine indicated she could allow the Gowanus Neighborhood Plan to move into public review as soon as Monday,” said Department of City Planning rep Melissa Grace in an April 16 statement. 

The neighborhood-wide rezoning — which would allow for some 8,200 new housing units to be built along the toxic canal over the next decade-and-a-half — has been stalled in court since opponents of the plan sued the city in January, and the court granted a temporary restraining order on the proposal just days before the city planned to launch it into public review. 

The opponents — Voice of Gowanus and Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus — claimed the city’s plans to hold ULURP hearings via Zoom was against the City Charter.

But critics of the lawsuit said the legal move was just a ploy to stall the project long enough so it wouldn’t make it through the roughly seven-month Uniform Land Use Review Procedure before the end of 2021, when Mayor Bill de Blasio leaves office and elections shake up the City Council, which has veto power in the review process.

Hizzoner even signed an executive order in March aimed at clearing up the legal dispute. 

A member of Voice of Gowanus told Brooklyn Paper that the city was declaring victory prematurely, saying that Levine has yet to lift the order and that discussions were still ongoing. 

“The city is trying to make this look like a fait accompli. There are still discussions going on,” said Brad Vogel, who is also a captain with the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club.

The group followed up with an emailed statement accusing the city of divulging confidential settlement discussions, denouncing officials’s claims as “disgraceful and underhanded.”

“We are outraged that the city has shamefully opted to divulge details of confidential settlement discussions in an aggressive public relations move to try to misconstrue the status of our lawsuit and the Gowanus rezoning ULURP application,” the statement read. “All we can say is the temporary restraining order imposed by the court remains in place. Any characterizations to the contrary are disgraceful and underhanded.”

A DCP spokesman declined to provide more information and Judge Levine could not immediately be reached for comment. 

The city has scheduled a request for the ULURP’s official certification with the City Planning Commission Monday, April 19, according to a draft agenda posted online Friday.

This story is developing. Check back for further updates.

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