GOWANUS, BROOKLYN -
The Gowanus rezoning will not be certified today. This development
comes despite the de Blasio Administration’s last minute attempt today to overturn the temporary
restraining order (TRO) that Voice of Gowanus (VOG) won in court on Friday. After arguments this
morning by counsel to both VOG and the City, a judge in the Second Division Appellate Court denied
the City and let the TRO stand as of early this afternoon.
“This is HUGE,” said Nora Almeida of Voice of Gowanus. “We won the initial order and now we’ve
beat back the City’s attempt to avoid a substantive response to our lawsuit. The Appellate Court has
now affirmed that the equity, access, transparency, and rule of law issues at the heart of our legal
action must have their day in court.”
The result of today’s court decision: the City may not proceed with certification of the Gowanus
rezoning application or utilize virtual ULURP pending a NYS Supreme Court hearing scheduled for
January 27, 2021.
Today’s ruling against the City also drew words of solidarity from the Citywide People’s Land Use
Alliance, a group of over sixty organizations from around New York City that are calling for an end to
abuse of ULURP (Uniform Land-Use Review Procedure). The alliance was brought together by the
de Blasio Administration’s aggressive and abusive approach to rezoning working class
neighborhoods of color and industrial areas. Despite a constant parroting by developers and the city
that these large-scale rezonings are really about creating affordable housing, the de Blasio
Administration has failed New York on this issue. And in Gowanus, the vast majority of proposed new
housing would be market rate luxury, with the one truly “affordable” housing complex located on a
forever-toxic site contaminated by dangerous industrial pollution.
Alliance members issued this statement today:
“The Citywide People’s Land Use Alliance supports the legal action of Voice of Gowanus, which
seeks to halt New York City’s “virtual” land use procedure (ULURP). The “virtual” version of ULURP
limits civic participation, which is guaranteed by the City Charter. We need a true democracy in which
all people—regardless of ability, class, race, economic power, or current housing status—have power
to decide what will be built.”
Coordination with many members of the Alliance from across the city, including Chinatown Working
Group, Protect Sunset Park, Flushing Anti-Displacement Alliance, Movement to Protect the People,
and Inwood Legal Action, has proven that Gowanus is not alone in calling out the de Blasio
Administration’s unjust and unsustainable approach to rezonings.
“This is a citywide issue because ULURP is a tilted playing field that simply does not work for
communities,” said Elyse Shuk of Voice of Gowanus. “And now, in the middle of a global pandemic,
the de Blasio Administration is trying to rush through a massive rezoning with a process that
disenfranchises community voices. Enough is enough.”
Voice of Gowanus continues to fundraise vigorously to continue its legal efforts through the Gowanus
Legal Defense Fund.
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