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DCP unveils Gowanus IBZ Vision Plan, advances key community priority

IBZ Vision Plan identifies key development, infrastructure and workforce priorities for building a 21st Century, transit-rich jobs hub in Brooklyn

May 18, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Department of City Planning (DCP) Director Marisa Lago today announced the release of the Gowanus IBZ Vision Plan, to guide future development in an industrial area adjacent to the Gowanus Neighborhood Plan and better support this 21st century, economic hub that includes nearly 300 businesses and 4,000 private jobs.

“During the community planning process for the future of Gowanus, we heard loud and clear – and we 100% agree – that the IBZ along the Canal must be part of this vital work as the IBZ is a source of essential services and jobs for area residents and New York City as a whole. The Vision Plan that we’re releasing today contains recommendations for infrastructure and workforce training, and lays out a land use framework that will help keep the Gowanus portion of the IBZ a bustling and dynamic jobs hub for decades to come,” said DCP Director Marisa Lago.

“Our vision for Gowanus is one in which the IBZ continues to thrive. Alongside public review of the neighborhood rezoning, we need to make real plans to support the local workforce and invest in necessary infrastructure,” said Council Member Brad Lander.

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“Preserving industrial and manufacturing businesses in New York City is crucial to providing good paying jobs and vital services for our residents. Updating our land use regulations, infrastructure requirements, and increasing workforce development opportunities is long overdue and will only add to the long term viability of our neighborhoods. I want to thank City Planning, CM Lander, and all the businesses who contributed to this plan and look forward to it being developed and implemented in the years to come,” said Council Member Stephen Levin.

The Vision Plan focuses on bolstering the industrial and commercial businesses that exist in the Gowanus portion of the Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Business Zone (IBZ) by establishing guidelines for any future land use changes, investments in infrastructure to improve drainage and mobility on major corridors, and job training to further economic opportunities for New Yorkers. This work complements the growth anticipated in the northern part of Gowanus and the city’s broader economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anchored along the Gowanus Canal, a historically industrial waterway, and flanked by Park Slope and Carroll Gardens, the IBZ is home to a wide range of businesses – from manufacturing, construction and warehousing, to artists, retailers and offices. The IBZ also has several unique assets – it’s served by three subway lines, and has direct access to the Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE) and the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel, connecting the area to Downtown Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan in less than 30 minutes.

The Vision Plan geography covers the IBZ portion of Gowanus, in addition to adjacent industrial and commercial zoned areas and mixed-use portions on the east side of 3rd Avenue, which serves as a gateway to the IBZ.

Based on three years of public outreach with agency partners and local stakeholders, including business roundtable discussions, stakeholder meetings and a survey, this Vision Plan is crafted to serve a wide array of businesses. The plan’s land use goals and strategies include:

  • Increase flexibility for existing industrial businesses to grow and support continued industrial operations around major truck-intensive facilities.
  • Support industrial, arts and other sectors that contribute to the local economy, build on the area’s appeal, and provide quality jobs accessible to local residents.
  • Boost job opportunities in areas closer to transit and to residential neighborhoods.
  • Increase connectivity on large waterfront sites to promote improved circulation and pedestrian access.
  • Recognize existing pockets of residential uses and reduce their potential conflicts with neighboring businesses.

As a complement to the goals and strategies described above, the Vision Plan identifies four sub-areas with specific goals for larger waterfront blocks, the Smith St-9th St transit corridor and upland blocks, industrial-intensive areas near the BQE, and the 3rd Avenue corridor and clusters of residential uses that pre-date the current zoning.

In addition, the Vision Plan identifies a series of goals and strategies related to sustainability and resiliency, transportation and other infrastructure, and workforce development, such as increasing access to local jobs, enhancing mobility and safety along major corridors, and improving capacity of sewer and drainage infrastructure to reduce flooding.

The guidelines found in the Vision Plan are meant for future land use actions or development proposals and are not changes being made as part of the Gowanus Neighborhood Plan.

A key priority of Community Board 6, elected officials and the broader community – the IBZ Vision Plan makes good on a commitment in DCP’s 2018 Gowanus Framework to develop a shared proposal for the southern part of Gowanus that lies within the Southwest Brooklyn IBZ.


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