Gowanus Lounge: Serving Brooklyn

Toll Bros. Kicked in Ass Over Gowanus Affordable Housing

February 13th, 2009 · No Comments

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The case of the controversial Toll Brothers Gowanus development, which was approved by Commmunity Board 6, has just gotten a bit curiouser. The firm had promised 130 affordable units, or about 30 percent of the housing to be built on the banks of Brooklyn’s Grand Canal. Only, CB6 discovered that the affordable housing won’t be required by deed restrictions and that it has, in effect, voted to give the Toll firm extra height and buik on its structure with no legal guarantee that any affordable housing will ever be built. Ooopsy. The board had voted conditional approvial 23-10 in favor, with five abstentions, in November. One of the conditions was 30 percent affordable housing. Another was “restrictive declaration for the subject properties clearly outline and detail the land uses and building designs.” The original November letter also outlined several concerns including this gem: “that the environmental conditions in and around the Gowanus Canal are not suitable for residential development at this time, and that there are no guarantees that such conditions ever will be suitable in the future.” This is just one of the reasons we put this project on our list of Five Rotting Corpses for 2009, projects that are likely to die for a variety of reasons. In any case, the bottom line is that CB6 is asking City Planning to place the affordable housing in the deed restrictions or the rezoning.

We have to wonder: How in the Name of God did an itty-bitty little detail like that slip through the cracks of one of the most contentious projects Gowanus has seen (so far)? Or to be crude about it, WTF? Did someone try to pull a fast one? One presumes City Planning will fix the boo boo, although we still think this is an elaborate exercise in rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

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Tags: Gowanus · Gowanus Canal · Rezoning