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CB6 Conditionally Approves Lightstone Group to Build Towers Along Gowanus

After multiple motions to approve the project on Bond Street for three residential towers did not pass, the final motion was conditionally approved with a close vote.

 

The toxic waterfront along the Gowanus will be home to 700 rental units in three high-rise towers, to be built by the Lightstone Group, so long as the developer agrees with certain conditions made by Community Board 6. 

On Wed. night, after a long procession of failed motions and amendments, Community Board 6's general board conditionally approved the plan at 363-365 Bond St. 

The Lightstone Group, a Manhattan-based developer, got the green light by CB6 for their project's minor modifications for the three-tower project, which will bring a mix of affordable, market-value and luxury apartments to 700 rental units. 

The block-wide rental complex will be composed of three towers, one 12-story, one 8-story and one 6-story. The land was initially rezoned in 2009 for a housing development proposed by the Toll Brothers.

The conditional approval for the project depends on the following conditions:

  • The Lightstone Group to follow the CB6 Responsible Developer Policy
  • That the Department of City Planning does a full-scale Environmental Impact Study which shows no negative impact on the community

The vote was very close, drawing a room full of 60 people who were divided pro and against the project.

Lightstone Group’s project at 363-365 Bond St. has seen its fair share of contention from the community.

On Sept. 27, the Community Board 6 Landmarks and Land Use committee voted against the project, requesting that the Department of City Planning (DCP) enforce certain stipulations before moving forward. 

During that meeting, although the project boasts an expansive public esplanade, 1,000 square feet designated to the Gowanus Dredgers and the claim that it would have a neutral impact on canal CSOs after installing a new bulkhead and centrifuge, the project did not meet the satisfaction of boardmembers.

A week after the Sept. 27 meeting, a community group named Save Gowanus formed to gather signatures on a petition to illustrate the level of opposition within the community. As of Oct. 11, the petition had close to 500 signatures.

A major concern for the attendees of Wednesday’s meeting was that the project’s area will be rezoned, but the rest of the Gowanus Canal will not be.

“We should not be forced to see piecemeal projects come in,” a boardmember said, explaining that the neighborhood would like to see the entire Gowanus-area be rezoned. “We need to see this as a comprehensive scheme and see the infrastructure to support the neighborhood’s needs.”

Marlene Donnelly, a representative of the CAG, said that this kind of rezoning is illegal.

“Spot rezoning that took place under the Toll Brothers is a violation of NYC Charter,” Donnelly said. “Spot rezoning is not allowed. Zoning is about zones, not about one block.”

The site at 363-365 Bond St. was initially rezoned in 2009 for a housing development proposed by the Toll Brothers. As such, the new project requires only 'minor modifications' approval from the DCP as it is 100% within the zoning envelope and has the same square footage as approved in the Toll Brothers’ ULURP. 

Another boardmember said that this project would be good for the community.

“Our community is desperate for new, modern and affordable housing,” the member said, explaining that this project would dedicate 20 percent of its units as affordable. “As landlords, they can bring political muscle to help bring supermarkets and schools to the neighborhood.”

Ethan Geto, a spokesperson for The Lightstone Group, said they were happy to hear about the conditional approval.

“The Lightstone Group is delighted that Community Board 6, following thoughtful consideration and evaluating the many positive benefits of the Lightstone project in terms of environmental cleanup, quality affordable housing and the beautiful waterfront park and esplanade that Lightstone will create along the Gowanus, voted overwhelmingly to approve the project,” he said. 

Check back with Patch for a full list of conditions from CB6. 

Joanne Bernardo October 13, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Okay, I don't get it. "As landlords they can bring supermarkets and schools to this community." Who is this referring to? Lightstone? People who have been here over 50 years could not accomplish this. The F train was a sardine can 40 years ago and still is. We have 3 elementary schools and no large family-friendly supermarkets only specialty gourmet stores. I'm guessing there will be a long waiting list for that 20% affordable housing and how will we be able to get tenants for our smaller "dollhouses" nearby? And where are they all parking? This is trouble---big trouble with a capital T? Please explain how this is all a "good" thing.

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