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We demand that a moratorium be placed on proceeding with the Gowanus Rezone Proposal, which incorporates parts of Boerum Hill, Park Slope, and Carroll Gardens, until the city’s needs can be re-assesed. In the wake of COVID-19, with both the city and state budgets in crisis, the economy in free fall, and as many as 20% of Americans having lost their jobs—including a disproportionate number of people of color— this plan is woefully out of step with what the city needs right now, or what it can afford.

In addition, residents are fleeing the city in droves, and we are already seeing a net reduction in population, which we can expect to continue in the coming years. This is not the time to flood the market with a glut of  luxury housing units, while offering major financial incentives and giveaways to developers. Putting it forward now is both fiscally irresponsible, and socially unjust.

The Gowanus Rezone plan gives developers the green light to build 22 to 30-story towers along the Gowanus Canal, Fourth Avenue, and many other designated areas of adjoining neighborhoods. It is expected to create at least 6500 new luxury apartments.

The plan also includes enormous developer incentives and giveaways. Developers will be excluded from paying any property taxes for at least 25 years, thereby contributing absolutely nothing to the infrastructure that will be needed for the 20,000 new tenants predicted to flood the neighborhood once construction is completed. This is NYC’s largest rezoning project to date, yet developers will contribute no money towards schools, and no money towards transportation. 

But the biggest  giveaway is the estimated half a billion dollars of New York State taxpayer money that will be handed over to the developers for building in brownfield areas. This money is to subsidize their building costs, NOT the cleanup. 

The need for new housing units in NYC must also be re-examined, including the needs for so-called “affordable” units. While the country is entering a recession—perhaps a depression—and the city is experiencing a major population reduction, existing housing stock will of necessity become more affordable. And the people who will be most in need of housing—the enormous numbers of residents who now find  themselves out of work—will not even qualify for the proposed affordable units.

This is also not the time to eliminate designated manufacturing zones, and put even more people out of work, as would occur under the current plan. Shortages of necessary supplies during the COVID-19 crisis proved the city’s need for local, American-made products, and the physical space to allow such manufacturing to more widely bloom. 

In the wake of COVID-19, while the city, state, and Brooklyn residents are in a state of financial decline, the city is seeing an enormous number of residents fleeing the city, and massive numbers of citizens are out of work, subsidizing luxury towers built by wealthy developers is UNJUST and FINANCIALLY IRRESPONSIBLE.