The first major project to build new housing along the polluted Gowanus Canal inched forward with a decisive show of community support.
Community Board 6 voted last week to support Toll Brothers’ request for a zoning change on two blocks of manufacturing land next to the fetid canal so the luxury suburban homebuilder can build 447 units of mixed-income housing and retail space in an area bounded by Carroll, Bond and Second streets and the notorious waterway.
The board’s vote, 23 to 10 with six abstentions, was the climactic culmination of more than a year of often bitter community meetings. On previous nights, residents denounced the 12-story height of the tallest buildings in Toll Brothers’ project as well as the potential calamity from creating housing next to the heavily contaminated body of water.
Because of the city’s land-use review process that governs rezoning applications, Toll’s pitch also requires the approval of the borough president, the Department of City Planning, which proposes creating housing in much of the old industrial core around the Gowanus, and the City Council, where Councilman Bill DeBlaiso (D–Park Slope), whose district covers the Gowanus, has expressed his support for the project.
Borough President Markowitz, who has also appeared warm to the proposal, held a public hearing about the project on Wednesday night. The Beep has 30 days to render his verdict before sending the project up the pipeline.