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City Council Moves Forward With Gowanus Rezoning After Slashing Affordable Housing

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On Tuesday, a key city council committee approved a last-minute change to a proposed rezoning block in Gowanus, Brooklyn. This reduces the maximum size of new buildings. Up to half of the original offerat the request of District Councilor Shahana Hanif.

Modified rezoning in historically industrial areas could result in dozens fewer units than the original plan approved by the local community board, resulting in fewer affordable units there is.

In contrast to other recent eye-catching Fight Over new housing in progressive council member districts, Hanif, co-chair of the council’s progressive caucus, called for amendments to limit the number of new units rather than promote more affordable housing. I asked for

The original proposal from the Angelina Gut Trust was Ninth Avenue, now used as a parking lot, has two buildings that collectively house 85 units, 22 of which were permanently available for purchase under the city’s internment housing program. Hanif’s office noted that the proposal was not a binding commitment and that developers could have chosen to build fewer units.

The area of ​​Gowanus on 9th Avenue between 2nd and 3rd Avenues was to be rezoning.

The scaled-down proposal would limit buildings in the zone from 95 feet 9 stories to 55 feet 5 stories. His two plots on which the Gatto Trust proposed building could now produce just 25 units and seven affordable units, according to City Planning Department estimates.

It also failed to produce affordable units at all. Buildings are more likely to be lower under lower height limits. size threshold Urban zoning rules require developers to build affordable units.

Gatto Trust attorney Paul Proulx said developers were grateful that Hanif agreed to rezoning, even in a reduced form. He confirmed that the smaller development would be “moving forward,” but didn’t say whether it would include affordable units.

On April 21, 2022, Hanif addressed a city hall rally calling on Mayor Eric Adams to invest more in affordable housing and homeless services.

In a statement, Hanif hinted that residents opposed to the development have expressed concern about bringing more luxury homes into the area, and that the revised plan will help various neighborhoods, including the interests of local businesses. He said he was balancing the interests of society.

“I deeply respect and support the pressure from many in our community to increase affordable housing, especially very affordable housing, in our district.” She said, “I am also aware of concerns from the industrial business community about the continued erosion of manufacturing space without the protection and investment of industrial zoning. [industrial business zone]”

last minute change

The changed plan surprised development supporters when it was unveiled on Monday. The original proposal had been given the stamp of approval by the Brooklyn Community Board 6. voted Voted 31 to 6 for the June project.

After that vote, some local residents and business owners under the Gowanus Alliance banner were mobilized against the proposal, causing local residents to be evicted, local businesses to be threatened, and streets to be flooded and overloaded. claimed to risk sewerage.

In July, the borough’s president’s office, Antonio Reinoso, compromised to rezoning a parking lot owned by the Gut Trust to allow nine-story buildings, but limiting the rest of the rezoning area to five stories. Reinoso’s recommendation cited 29 written comments from local residents, pointing to a “record amount of written testimony” against rezoning.

Eighth Street Block Association member Kathryn Klaase and other community members objected to Reinoso’s proposed compromise, arguing that there were nine stories on the block, and now no more than four stories high. Nothing objected. “It’s pretty tall,” said Klaase. “It would be really very out of character.”

Gowanus residents Anna Fihkman (left) and Kathryn Krase support another rezoning plan that limits the height of new homes.

In the changes she proposed this week, Hanif went further than Reynoso’s compromise to limit the entire five-story rezoning, including the Gatto lot. The city council’s land use committee unanimously approved the revised rezoning on Tuesday, saying the plan would normally be “respect for members” We give the final decision to local representatives.

Some neighbors applauded Hanif’s stance. “Both the members of the housing community and the business community represented through the Gowanus Alliance fully support the work that the Council members have done to obtain this change and it fully meets our concerns.” We believe that there is,” said Krase.

Claase argued that residents may not have been confident that the large-scale project would actually result in affordable units, and that the changes have resulted in rentals that are currently “well below the market in the area.” He argued that it protects tenants whose rents are stable and could face pressure. Future from landlords looking to replace them. The area subject to rezoning includes two buildings with seven units with stable rent, according to city records. JustFix databasebut the construction envisioned in the original plan would have taken place on a separate non-residential site

Gowanus Alliance president Paul Basile said the reduction in rezoning is better for local businesses. “At more than 5 stories he’s considered difficult to overcome the quality of life issue. We have a business that gets deliveries all night long. They’re noisy, they’re noisy.” He said. “New residents don’t want noise and they don’t want business.”

“There are better ways to solve the affordability crisis than to build a way out of it,” added Basil.

In 2021, Basil will Zoning change With the support of the City Council, Community Board 6, and the Brooklyn Mayor, permission was granted to build nine-story residential and commercial buildings on two blocks along Third Avenue in the Gowanus Industrial Zone. These two blocks of his contained many things under his control, previously reserved for manufacturing use only.

Housing advocates say Hanif’s district is already far behind The rest of the city offering affordable housing.

“Going from 13 affordable homes to three is just a huge missed opportunity,” said the former Manhattan borough mayor, who has been appointed to the City Planning Commission by the Manhattan borough’s mayor, at a board meeting Monday. City Housing Officer Leila Borzog said. “We should try to produce more affordable units on private land,” she said.

Logan Fares, political director of development advocacy group Open New York, commented after the council’s vote:

The New York Housing Council, a trade group previously represented on the council by current city auditor Brad Lander, produced only 253 affordable homes from 2014 to 2021. I didn’t. per district. Meanwhile, the median income is twice his citywide average.

“Given the high cost of land, a zoning application that triggers mandatory inclusion housing will help drive the growth of new affordable housing in this amenity-rich neighborhood,” said Rachel Fee, executive director of the New York Housing Council. It’s a way to maximize your opportunities.

yes city?

Under Mayor Eric Adams, defended The fight over rezoning, an agenda that unashamedly drives development, is becoming increasingly contentious across the city.

City Councilman Marjorie Velázquez at Throgs Neck in the Bronx last month. switched He stood by and backed the proposed redevelopment of Bruckner Boulevard and gave the green light to build hundreds of new apartments there.

Although Velázquez had repeatedly promised residents that he would continue to oppose the project, he eventually voiced his support, which was seen as a major victory for the Adams administration and council chairman Adrian Adams.

Now Astoria, Queens, council member Julie Wong and allied community activists are resisting “Innovation QNS” A massive $2 billion development that will bring 2,845 new apartments to the area, citing concerns about the area’s rapid gentrification and the need to increase the proportion of affordable units. His more than 1,000 of these apartments are classified as affordable in the area.

Clashes come as New York City struggles with rent rising Faster than any other major American city, according to Lander’s recent analysis.

“When New York City’s housing market matches the slow pace of home construction with years of low vacancy rates and a rapid short-term increase in demand for rental homes… [it leads] Higher rent burdens, more evictions, and homelessness” Lander I got it.

This article was updated on October 27 to reflect the 2021 zoning amendments in the region sought by the President of the Gowanus Alliance.

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