DeBlasio's Thoughts on Gowanus Up-Zoning.

Some very interesting information came into my mailbox regarding Bill de Blasio's thoughts on the future of the Gowanus. Keep it in mind if you plan on attending the al fresco meeting Wednesday night. Our sender questions the lack of consideration taken to the landscape and enviromental factors, also it is quite insulting that he considers the loss of small businesses such as auto shops as "not displacing anyone".

Council Member de Blasio's published thoughts on up-zoning in our neighborhood.
BKLYN Magazine

Summer 2005

by Jem Aswad
with contributions from Alec Appelbaum

page 20:
"In terms of choosing appropriate places for development," says City Council Member Bill de Blasio, "I think the rezoning struck a very good balance by basically freezing the area up the slope from Forth Avenue the way it is and keeping its human scale. And it was a rare opportunity in a city where we are short literally hundreds of thousands of units of housing: Forth Avenue is essentially in a valley, so you can build higher, and there are a lot of auto shops and small stores and even vacant lots, so you are not really displacing important elements of our community." (An assessment that might come as a surprise to those who work at and own those auto shops and small stores.)

**The article goes on to conclude with another statement from de Blasio**
page 21:
"I think there's nowhere to go but up," says de Blasio. "The only real limitation is physical space, which means that after Fourth Avenue and then Third Avenue and then the canal--you're done. And then parallel to Park Avenue is particularly germane: There is no place else to go, and values will be set accordingly."

Our emailer comments:

Clearly our Council Member has some sense that "human scale" communities are something to be protect, at least from his neighborhood. But does he know anything of landscapes and earth science given his vision of putting the tallest buildings down in the swamp which he thinks is "essentially a valley".

Equating building 14 stories structures built all the way to this canal with Park Avenue in Manhattan is a parallel that requires a great leap, along with denial of the actual landscape we are dealing with here. But others should be concerned about the long term results de Blasio sees from all this construction when "values are set accordingly". Just how does this thesis of his serve his deep desire to provide affordable housing when he sees the finality of all the building leading up to 4th Avenue becoming a neighborhood like Park Avenue--that is, a dense and pricey place that lacks human scale.

We all need to take a real look at what high rise construction along the Gowanus Canal might actually bring to our neighborhood. What will it mean to have 12-14 story structures on both sides of the 100 foot wide canal; a canal that is actually an inland estuary that is used to drain a highly urbanized city? De Blasio needs to show us some pictures of his vision; what will it look like in his Gowanus canyon, especially at low tide when the water level drops 4-6 feet lower, what might it feel like in that canyon especially if those buildings do make the water less clean?

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