Gowanus Residents Launch Petition Against Lightstone Project

A new community initiative called 'Save Gowanus' wants to protect the canal from overdevelopment


In the runup to a final vote by Community Board 6 regarding the Lightstone Group's planned project at 363-365 Bond St., a new community initiative is collecting signatures from residents of Gowanus, Carroll Gardens and contiguous areas to illustrate the level of opposition within the community.

"Save Gowanus aims to protect the neighborhoods of Gowanus and Carroll Gardens from overdevelopment along the banks of the canal—specifically for the planned Lightstone Group project," wrote Debbie Stoller, a representative of the group, in an e-mail to Carroll Gardens Patch.

Save Gowanus is comprised of members of FROGG, Friends of the Greater Gowanus, and other interested parties, some of whom spoke out at last month's hearing on the subject. 

Members of the Land Use Committee ultimately passed a motion against the project, requesting that the Department of City Planning (DCP) enforce certain stipulations before moving forward. But the final vote by CB6 will take place at the General Board Meeting this Wednesday, October 10.

"We want them to know that there is widespread community support for this motion," said Stoller. "The Lightstone Group has hired at least three lobbying groups to actively work on this, targeting the Department of City Planning, NYC Council members, and others. We feel it was very important to take this action in order to make sure that the community's voice, and not just that of Lightstone lobbyists, are heard."

According to city records for NYC Lobbyists and Clients, one agency on retainer for Lightstone Group is Friedman & Gotbaum, LLP, though it is unclear for what purpose. Lightstone representative Ethan Geto, asserts that the members of Save Gowanus are misinformed and perpetuating falsehoods.

"There is only one firm lobbying elected officials and the Community Board on the project, and that’s my firm, Geto & de Milly," he said. 

Reasons community members oppose the project range from its "not conforming to the scale and aesthetic of the neighborhood," to Lightstone hiring non-union workers to the introduction of at least 1400 new residents that could potentially stress the sewer, nearby schools, and surrounding infrastructure. 

Meanwhile, proponents say the development could beautify a currently blighted stretch of the canal and provide much-needed affordable housing for those that qualify. 

Geto provided Carroll Gardens Patch with a document rebutting claims that the development project will an adverse impact on sewers, CSOs and the Superfund cleanup. It is attached in the gallery for residents to review.

Where do you stand on the matter? Tell us in the comments below.

ANONYMOUS 2 October 11, 2012 at 02:56 AM
If it is so "ugly" why does the Brooklyn Museum own and display a painting of the made from that location? It is those proposed buildings that are darn ugly!
ANONYMOUS October 11, 2012 at 12:40 PM
I have just one more comment on this subject...I am a licensed Real Estate Appraiser. I have never heard of a bank giving a mortgage to someone who is purchasing property at a Superfund site. Just a thought, maybe that is why these units have been converted to rentals status. Possibly the smaller apartments are an attempt to keep children (the most vulnerable) away from the toxic elements. If the EPA is requiring Lightstone to put up a bulkhead that woiuld hold the toxic coaltar in the land..doesn't that confirm toxics in the soil...look, I am not buying or renting so my input is only meant to provide an open thought process...yes it would be wonderful to have the canal used as an open space park, but not this canal, not ever
Joanna Prisco October 11, 2012 at 04:23 PM
At last night's General Board Meeting, Community Board 6 voted to give Lightstone Group the green light for it's Gowanus project, despite the Land Use sub-committee's previous motion to put on the brakes. A more detailed report of the meeting will come from a colleague this afternoon.
klase mybutz October 11, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Joanna Has there ever been any discussion in these meetings about alternative clean-up measures? The EPA's estimate in the past for clean-up is 10-12 years and $500MM. Why not take a less invasive approach now and gauge the clean up measures later? Here's an article about alternative options: http://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2012/09/12/natures-toxic-crusaders/
klase mybutz October 11, 2012 at 05:05 PM
I challenge everyone that's a local resident, lightstone and anyone reading this article to get involved. Get Brad Lander out to roll up his sleeves because he's a hands on gentleman and lets get oyster gardening: http://nynjbaykeeper.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=72%3Aget-involved-with-oyster-gardening&catid=35&Itemid=68


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