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The city’s plan to rezone a large area near the Gowanus Canal inched forward this week in Borough Hall.
On Tuesday, the Department of City Planning solicited comments from the public about its plan to rezone 25 blocks bounded by Third Street to the south, Bond street to the west, Fourth Avenue to the east, and Baltic Street and Sackett Street to the north. Input from the public will be used to broaden the scope of the environmental impact statement that will be used once the official public review, called the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, begins in the summer.
The plan calls for a series of land use changes that will transform areas zoned for manufacturing use to mixed use, allowing residential buildings as tall as 12 stories high in some areas.
The series of actions would also maintain some areas for industrial and commercial use, and would “encourage the redevelopment of the waterfront and provide public access opportunities at the Gowanus Canal’s edge, enliven the streetscape with pedestrian friendly ground−floor uses, and promote new housing production, including affordable housing,” according to City Planning.
By 2018, the city expects the changes to result in redevelopment at 26 projected development sites, resulting in a net increase of 3,211 residential units, 34,681 square feet of retail space, 32,032 square feet of community facility space. That same year, the actions are projected to yield a net decrease of 543,716 square feet of industrial space and 184,757 square feet of commercial space.
But projected progress is in the eye of the beholder.
“Rezoning the Gowanus is about using government policy as a subtle form of eminent domain,” said Linda Mariano, a member of the group Friends and Residents of the Greater Gowanus (FROGG), and an area resident since 1974. The rezoning, she said, “is a threat to all the residents. And local businesses too, she continued. “You are killing off people who have businesses here, and taking over a neighborhood that is not blighted — just because it doesn’t look like Park Avenue.”
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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