Next Monday: It’s a draft of Gowanus’s future

The Brooklyn Paper
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A Gowanus pol who spent a good chunk of the year soliciting ideas for the neighborhood’s future will present the highlights on Nov. 24.

The big reveal will start a new chapter in the Bridging Gowanus process announced by Councilman Brad Lander (D–Gowanus) last year. Lander says the brainstorming sessions, and the resulting document he is creating, are supposed to help neighbors come up with a list of demands for a rezoning before city bean counters up and do it themselves.

“In the past, the city would propose a rezoning and a neighborhood would react by asking for things in exchange,” Lander said. “The idea here is to work together to put together a comprehensive plan that instead begins with the community’s needs.”

The process began with a secret meeting between pols and activists in the summer of 2013. The idea is to come up with a list of demands to govern any future large-scale development, Lander said. One of the main priorities that has come out of the meetings has been the protection of manufacturing in the area, possibly by mandating that new residential projects preserve or create industrial space, according to the pol. Other items include improving transportation and environmental infrastructure, he said.

The Nov. 24 is another step in a long process, Lander said, and though the presentation will condense all of the past year’s meetings, it is not the final prescription.

“This is a framework, not a plan,” he said. “An important challenge here is that there are so many actors. The city, state, and federal government all have central roles to play, and we have to take them together and coordinate, especially on infrastruc­ture.”

When Lander comes up with a final set of recommendations, the next step is to get city agencies such as the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of City Planning on board.

Lander has described Bridging Gowanus as a way to avoid the rapid-fire construction of apartment buildings like what has happened along Fourth Avenue, but anti-development activists aren’t all satisfied. Protesters disrupted the final Bridging Gowanus meeting in June, charging that Lander is trying to push his agenda while making a show of gathering community input. They said they would hold their own series of Gowanus planning meetings but it fizzled out after the first one in July.

One rabble-rouser said Bridging Gowanus looks good on paper but isn’t in practice.

“It’s a noble effort, but there are people with viable ideas who are not being listened to,” said Joseph Alexiou, a writer who has a studio in Gowanus and organized the protest. “We’ve seen that they know what they wanted to talk about before the community dialogue even started.”

Residents who cannot attend the Nov. 24 meeting have until the end of the year to make comments on the Bridging Gowanus website.

The city solicited neighborhood input for a possible rezoning over the course of three years starting in 2007, but pressed pause when the federal government declared the Gowanus Canal a Superfund site by the federal government in 2010, beginning an environmental cleanup process that is set to take at least until 2024.

Bridging Gowanus, PS 32 (317 Hoyt St. between President and Union streets in Gowanus, Nov. 24 at 6:30 pm.

Reach reporter Noah Hurowitz at or by calling (718) 260–4505. Follow him on Twitter @noahhurowitz
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Hohum from Carroll Gardens says:
I didn't know Brad was putting the plan together by his little ole self. I thought it was the Pratt students that were doing that. They were the ones who attended all of the meetings, listened to people's ideas, and synthesized what they heard. Their hard work deserves to be acknowledged.

The councilmember has already given s presentation to the community board and will probably be meeting with other community groups prior to the 24th.
Nov. 14, 2014, 1:04 pm
Governor from the commission says:
"The idea is to come up with a list of demands to govern any future large-scale development, Lander said."

Just how did Brad skip ahead to the presumption that there are to be "future large-scale developments" in Gowanus where currently the law does not allow for any such think?

Or is this just the new back-door planning they practice at Pratt these days?
Nov. 15, 2014, 9:02 pm
The Governor's wife from the same place says:
Your article also says that: "Lander has described Bridging Gowanus as a way to avoid the rapid-fire construction of apartment buildings like what has happened along Fourth Avenue"

Again the law does not allow for construction of apartment buildings within the industrial zone Gowanus, rapid-fire or otherwise.

Why would a community want to come up with a list of demands for a rezoning when a rezoning is what would create the problems Lander is claiming to avoid with his list of demands for a rezoning?
Nov. 15, 2014, 9:13 pm
Not the governor from A different place says:
Some of the people who were involved in the 4th Avenue rezoning are also active participants in the Gowanus rezoning. Fourth Avenue was upzoned and went through a long planning process. I think the upzonimg was a trade off for a Park Slope down zoning.
It is not like the developers are running roughshod on Fourth Avenue - they are building what is permissible and if Brad has a problem with it then he should take it up with the community board.
Nov. 16, 2014, 12:40 am
Jean Ferraro from Red Hook says:
Lander is vile, even by the low low low standards of Brooklyn "Democratic" politics. William O'Dwyer-- whom these numskull couldn't tell you one thing about-- is rolling in his rightly desecrated grave.

Ethnially bankrupt, intellectually void, personally repulsive-- you done good, Brad!!!
Nov. 16, 2014, 11:51 pm
marsha rimler from Brooklyn Heights says:
Lander is a young man in a big hurry. He supports
the Brooklyn Public Library Destruction plan for the Brooklyn Heights library which he described as "creative" and its not even in his district!!
Nov. 17, 2014, 6:05 pm

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