A summary of the available reports on Gowanus, dating back to the past 10 years.
Gowanus Canal EPA Superfund Record of Decision
Prepared by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
On March 2, 2010, The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) added the Gowanus Canal to the Agency’s Superfund National Priorities List (NPL), allowing the agency to further investigate contamination at the site and develop an approach to address contamination. This Administrative Record of Decision, developed for the public at large, documents the EPA’s selection of a remedy for contaminated sediments and source controls at the Gowanus Canal Superfund Site. In addition to describing the selected remedy, the document highlights the most significant changes to the plan since the public comment period in March 2013. It also clarifies the various remediation activities in different portions of the canal by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP). Click on the link below to access the EPA website for the Record of Decision, its updates, and question and answer forms.
Gowanus Canal Brownfield Opportunity Area Nomination Study
Prepared by Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners PLLC
This study on the local economy was prepared for Community Board 6 as a Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) nomination report to submit to the New York State’s Department of State and Department of Environmental Conservation. The 19 page report contains detailed maps on land uses, building ages, and floor area ratio (FAR). It provides concise summaries of economic strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and opportunities, based on surveys conducted on business sectors in the area. The survey’s findings include the number of firms in the area and jobs they provide (as of July 2012), length of operation/ownership, and real estate market conditions. The report recommends areas for neighborhood-scale redevelopment, 18 strategic sites for investment, and information resources for landowners and business owners.
Gowanus Works: Preserving Place and Production
Prepared by Pratt Institute’s Programs for Sustainable Planning and Development Graduate Land Use Studio
This set of recommendations was prepared for the Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group, based off the studio’s interdisciplinary study of economic development and land use in the area. Its content is attuned to the 2008 rezoning proposal from New York City Department of City Planning, the 2010 Superfund designation, and the assessed needs and desires of the community. It seeks to provide holistic and comprehensive recommendations for a productive, resilient, adaptive, and empowered Gowanus. The report contains land use maps and a contextualized, thematic timeline of the area. Its recommendations address job training, runoff management at a watershed level, zoning for a special purpose manufacturing district, vertical mixed use development, monitoring community health, archeological recover, public engagement, the creation of a “Gowanus Center,” and more. The Technical Appendices summarize key existing studies around stormwater mitigation strategies, remediation, and rezoning in the area. The report also provides a profile of arts and culture, documentation of historic buildings, and interviews with Gowanus stakeholders.
Reconsidering Gowanus: Opportunities for the Sustainable Transformation of an Industrial Neighborhood
Prepared by the Steven L. Newman Real Estate Institute Research and Development Department, Baruch College, CUNY
This 83-page neighborhood plan prepared for the public presents a comprehensive analysis of the assets in Gowanus and presents findings consistent with with New York City’s planning framework and long-term sustainability goals detailed in PlaNYC 2030. The existing conditions section covers local history, demographic data (from the 2000 Census), economic trends including housing and real estate markets, and the environment. The appendices include a timeline of activities in the Gowanus area, contamination, environmental categories, and information on Gowanus’ vulnerability to coastal surge. The plan concludes that community-based zoning and land use policies, investment of funds in stormwater management, and leveraging residents’ creativity can enable Gowanus to sustainably flourish. The report also addresses housing issues for a wide range of employment and incomes.
Gowanus Canal Waterbody/Watershed Facility Plan Report
Prepared by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP) and the Bureau of Engineering Design and Construction
This report is a city-wide, long term combined sewer overflow (CSO) control planning project, prepared in consultation with New York State licensed professional engineer Peter J. Young, as required by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). Over 500 pages long, the report provides a highly scientific watershed assessment and details on institutional and policy requirements. The existing conditions section comprehensively assesses existing sewer system facilities, watershed characteristics, improvement projects, public participation, and agency interaction. The appendices also provide comprehensive data on wet weather operating plans, biological exhibits, public opinion surveys, maps and tables of chemicals and monitoring sites, previous meeting minutes, details on sewershed systems components, and more. The final section provides responses to community questions regarding the plan.
Gowanus Canal Corridor Rezoning Study
Prepared by New York City Department of City Planning
This slideshow provides information on the potential effects of rezoning in Gowanus and clarifies the rezoning process. It ultimately describes the city’s draft zoning proposal for the Gowanus region. The slides provide detailed maps and lot data on land use, density, height, and waterfront access. The proposed zoning aims to embody principles established during the outreach process, including maintaining industrial areas for commercial activity, achieving clean up and redevelopment on underutilized sites, consideration of neighborhood scale and context, creating affordable housing, and providing public access at the canal’s edge. The zoning proposal was put on hold when the Canal received Superfund designation in 2010.
Platform for Responsible Redevelopment of the Gowanus Canal
Prepared by the Gowanus Summit
This is a consensus-based working document on the future of development in the Gowanus Canal. The Gowanus Summit – a coalition of civic, housing, community development, manufacturing, and labor groups that the Pratt Center convened – created this platform to ensure that future development meets the needs of residents and businesses and sets high standards for local quality of life. The document describes the platform’s call for creating and preserving affordable housing, space for industrial jobs, responsible contractors and operators, respect for community context, mixed use development, and improved infrastructure and environmental quality.
Gowanus Canal Comprehensive Community Plan
Prepared by Ferrandino & Associates Inc. with Ehrenkrantz Eckstut & Kuhn Architects, Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, and ACP Visioning and Planning, Ltd.
This 162-page report was prepared for the Gowanus Canal Community Development Corporation in 2006. It provides a comprehensive community profile of Gowanus, detailing its boundaries, history, demographics, industrial business climate, canal and watershed characteristics, bulkheads, land uses, zoning, transportation and circulation. The report works towards a vision for a green community, analyzing its assets and opportunities. Its findings recommend the promotion of mixed use zones in the northern district and industrial zones in the south. It recommends the creation of a special improvement districts, including a green stormwater district, and a Canal Improvement District (a type of business improvement district). It recommends obtaining funding of projects through brownfield grants, TEA21, and LEED. This study also attempts to address water quality, bulkhead replacement, and brownfields.