19 Aug 2014
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Gowanus Residents Launch Petition Against Lightstone Project

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

Gowanus Residents Launch Petition Against Lightstone Project


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.

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