The Uniform Land Use Review Process (ULURP) for the Gowanus Rezoning has ended and the Gowanus Neighborhood Plan (Rezoning) was approved by City Council on November 10, 2021 and the Mayor on November 23, 2021. A condensed timeline of GCC advocacy throughout the process is below and milestones from the formal ULURP process can be viewed in the Zoning Application Portal

Prior to the Rezoning approval, GCC and our partners in the Gowanus Neighborhood Coalition for Justice (GNCJ) celebrated commitments the City made as a part of the Points of Agreement, which delivers on numerous demands that GCC and GNCJ have been fighting for over the past 6 years. 

Points of Agreement Commitments: 

Upfront Funding for Comprehensive Repairs Public Housing with Resident Oversight

The City will fund comprehensive in-unit renovations at all apartments at Gowanus Houses (1,134 units) and Wyckoff Houses (528 units), estimated to be $200m, with commitments to oversight by public housing residents.

Mandate and Track Net Zero CSO (Combined Sewer Overflow)
The Unified Stormwater Rule, a new Citywide mandate that poses more stringent stormwater management requirements on development sites, will apply to all new properties within the Gowanus rezoning area and ensure that new development does not increase pollution to the Canal. Progress on this will be tracked by the City and the Task Force to ensure successful implementation and long-term water quality improvements in the Gowanus Canal. The new rule is now effective in Gowanus and will be mandated citywide in February 2022. 

Invest in Long-Term Resiliency and Infrastructure for Flood Mitigation

The City will include Gowanus, Red Hook, and the Gowanus IBZ as one of 10 neighborhoods across the City for Cloudburst Studies, which will assess stormwater flow paths, drainage patterns, and social vulnerability to identify infrastructure priorities and capital projects for flood mitigation. The City will further invest $174 million to upgrade sewer infrastructure that will eliminate flooding around 4th Avenue and Carroll Street during a 5-year storm, a critical intersection that has historically faced a great deal of flooding damage. 

Invest in Parks and Public Space Supported by Long-term Stewardship  

The City has committed to funding, timelines and public engagement for building new public spaces at Gowanus Green, the Transit Plaza at Smith/9th St, the Head End tank and the Salt Lot, along with renovation at Thomas Greene Park, Old Stone House and the Pacific Library.   The City will also support community efforts to create a Gowanus Waterfront Business Improvement District focused on stewardship, access, and public programming of open spaces, including new and existing waterfront esplanades, public parks and streetscapes.

Improve Waterfront Access and Ecology with Community Input
The City will identify locations for in-water access and tidal wetlands along the Canal as public spaces are designed, and will study pedestrian bridges as the cleanup progresses. The City will also share design concepts for waterfront esplanades with the community before certification, a critical step to improving community input on design.

Ensure Long-Term Open Space, Ecosystem Restoration, and Community Stewardship at the Salt Lot

The City has committed to ensuring that GCC has a temporary location during construction and a long-term home at the Gowanus Salt Lot, as well as committed to creating open space, ecosystem restoration and potential boat access on site, informed by a community engagement process. 

And in order to make sure that the community can hold the City accountable for all of these commitments:

Fund and Report to a Task Force

The City has committed to securing funding for and regular reporting to a Gowanus Implementation and Commitments Task Force to ensure accountability for all commitments made under the rezoning. 

GCC Advocacy throughout the Rezoning Process: 

2013 – 2018, GCC participated in community outreach for the anticipated rezoning as part of Bridging Gowanus and the Community Engagement process led by the NYC Department of City Planning (DCP) while simultaneously conducting community outreach and developing Gowanus Lowlands, a master plan that envisions a network of parks and public spaces centered on the Gowanus Canal and the surrounding watershed to ensure the community input in shaping a watershed that is accessible, active, and clean for all.

In March 2019, DCP released the Draft Scope of Work, which lays out proposed methodologies and assumptions for the rezoning’s environmental analysis. This is a critical point of the process to ensure that the City accurately measures environmental impacts of rezoning and plans for needed infrastructure. A summary of our comments on the scope are here, and the longer formal comments here.

In April 2021, DCP released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). We assessed the document for its effectiveness at accounting for and mitigating key environmental concerns such as combined sewer overflow, sewer system capacity, parks and open space, and impacts to natural resources. Read our comments on the DEIS here.

In June 2021 GCC and our partners in the Gowanus Neighborhood Coalition for Justice (GNCJ) delivered testimony at the Gowanus Rezoning Public Hearing hosted by Community Board 6, Community Board 2, and the Department of City Planning (DCP).

In October 2021, GCC and our partners in the Gowanus Neighborhood Coalition for Justice (GNCJ) delivered testimony at the City Council Hearing, the final opportunity for public comment in this ULURP process. (See GCC’s and GNCJ’s written comments.) 

What’s Next? 

  • Community Task Force formation and oversight: the City commits to seed funding for the formation of a Task Force composed of diverse community stakeholders that will oversee all commitments made in the Points of Agreement. The Task Force will include outside facilitation and will require senior agency representatives to report on the status of commitments on a quarterly basis beginning in Spring 2022.
  • Unified Stormwater Rule: the Unified Stormwater Rule was posted to the City Record in December 2021 and is now effective in Gowanus and other recently rezoned areas of the City. It will be effective citywide in February 2021 following a public comment period and public hearing that will be held on January 10th, 2022. The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will provide monthly updates on building permits filed in the Gowanus rezoning area and report on overall impacts twice annually for the Gowanus Watershed and as part of the annual Green Infrastructure Report
  • Cloudburst Study: DEP will include Gowanus, Red Hook, and the Gowanus IBZ as part of its initial neighborhood list for the Cloudburst Study in early 2022 and will include this area as part of the subsequent physical and social vulnerability assessment and engineering feasibility review, which will begin in mid-2022.
  • Waterfront certifications: Designs for waterfront esplanades are underway and GCC will begin conducting advocacy for engaging, vibrant esplanades using the Lowlands Master Plan in January 2022. 
  • Salt Lot: Bulkhead Construction is slated to begin in early 2022 and the City will be conducting outreach and provide opportunities for community feedback on the long-term design beginning in early 2022
  • Parks Improvement District (PID): the City has committed support for community efforts to create a Gowanus Waterfront Parks Improvement District (PID) focused on stewardship, access, and public programming of open spaces. The Steering Committee kickoff meeting was held in December 2021 and plan development and public meetings are slated to begin in the Spring of 2022. 

We will continue to work closely with our GNCJ partners to fight for a Gowanus that is thriving, inclusive, and resilient, along the waterfront and beyond.

Read More

October 15, 2021: Gowanus Neighborhood Rezoning & Gowanus Canal CSO Facility Comments

October 8, 2021: City Commitments Needed to Ensure Net Zero CSO Rezoning Comments

September 17, 2021: GCC Comments on Gowanus Canal CSO Facility – Owls Head

August 9, 2021: Gowanus Neighborhood Rezoning and Related Actions & Draft Environmental Impact Statement Comments

June 11, 2021: GCC Gowanus Neighborhood Plan Comments

July 15, 2020: Our Position on the Gowanus Rezoning

November 15, 2019: GCC Gowanus WAP Recommendations

May 23, 2019:

GCC Comments on Gowanus Neighborhood Rezoning and Related Actions Draft Scope of Work CEQR No.19DCP157K

GCC SUMMARY OF POSITION on Gowanus Neighborhood Rezoning and Related Actions Draft Scope of Work

GCC Testimony on Draft Scope of Work

February 6, 2019: GCC Response to Draft Zoning Proposal

Learn more

Gowanus Neighborhood Coalition for Justice

Draft Zoning Proposal

Gowanus: A Framework for a Sustainable, Inclusive, Mixed-use Neighborhood

Gowanus Places Study

Bridging Gowanus

Gowanus Canal Brownfield Opportunity Area Nomination Study