Advocates Push for Gowanus Rezoning, Stuck in COVID-19 Limbo, to Move Forward

According to advocates, the relative affluence of Gowanus is the reason a plan to rezone the neighborhood must move forward.

June 23, 2020, 6:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


New York City

The Gowanus Canal and the Gowanus Expressway, pictured in April 2020. | Felix Lipov / Shutterstock

"Open New York, a volunteer group that focuses on changing the city’s zoning laws to allow for more housing, launched a letter-writing campaign this week encouraging the city to move forward with its plan to rezone the Brooklyn neighborhood despite the pandemic bringing the process to a halt," reports Eddie Small.

According to Small, Mayor Bill de Blasio's had been mired in a rough patch even before the pandemic froze the review process of the Gowanus rezoning plan. "Plans for Bushwick and the South Bronx were stopped by the local City Council members — Antonio Reynoso and Rafael Salamanca, respectively — and Judge Verna Saunders ruled against its Inwood rezoning in December for not adequately examining the potential socioeconomic fallout." (Planetizen picked up the news of the Inwood rezoning court ruling, which focused on the lack of racial impact analysis in the rezoning process, earlier this month.)

Advocates are saying that the Gowanus rezoning plan is the only of a series of rezonings proposed during de Blasio's tenure that would upzone for new density in a mostly affluent part of the city. According to Open New York, allowing [the Gowanus rezoning] to fail 'will confirm the worst suspicions about New York’s leadership: that for all its talk about racial, economic and environmental justice, it has no interest in giving working New Yorkers a chance to live in affluent neighborhoods.'"


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