Fix the environment before rezoning, Gowanus residents say
Canal cleanup takes precedence over housing, activists argue at scoping meeting
Residents, activists and elected officials lambasted the city’s Gowanus rezoning plan on Thursday, calling it “shortsighted,” “overreaching” and “not responsive to the community’s needs.”
Attendees at a contentious public scoping meeting alleged that the current proposal, released in January by the Department of City Planning, would overburden infrastructure and schools, alter the character of the area, and — most importantly — compromise the cleanup of the neighborhood’s 1.8-mile toxic canal, a federal Superfund site.
Environmental activists and NYCHA residents were the most outspoken participants, demanding that before the city turns its focus to bringing in new residents, it must address the area’s existing problems.
Joseph Alexiou, a journalist, historian, neighborhood tour guide and author of “Gowanus: Brooklyn’s Curious Canal,” said it’s “basic planning” not to place housing in environmentally unsafe areas.