The Comprehensive Waterfront Plan – Coming Soon to a Shoreline Near You

The Department of City Planning is currently in the process of updating the City’s Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, which was originally published in 1992.  Local law requires that this update, which City Planning has entitled “Vision 2020,” be completed by the end of the year.  The Waterfront Plan is not to be confused with City Planning’s update to its waterfront zoning, which occurred last year and focused primarily on the design of the open spaces required when a private waterfront property is developed. Continue reading

Designated: Newtown Creek Becomes Second Superfund Site in NYC

On September 27, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designated Newtown Creek, a 4-mile long body of water that separates Brooklyn and Queens, as a Federal Superfund site, which means that EPA has determined that the Creek is one of the most severely contaminated sites in the country and will be cleaned up under EPA’s jurisdiction.  The designation has been expected since EPA proposed the Creek as a Superfund site a year ago.  Newtown Creek becomes the second Federal Superfund site in New York City.  The Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn was designated in March. Continue reading

City and State Agree on Local Brownfield Cleanup Strategy

DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis and Mayor Bloomberg discussing an environmental issue earlier this year. Photo credit: Spencer T Tucker, via

Earlier today, Mayor Bloomberg and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) regarding the City’s new Local Brownfield Cleanup Program (LBCP).  Under the MOA, the City and DEC have agreed to work together to “promote and facilitate the cleanup and appropriate reuse of contaminated properties.”  The LBCP allows parties that want to redevelop contaminated property in New York City to clean up the property under the jurisdiction of the City’s Office of Environmental Remediation (OER) and receive liability releases from the City once cleanup is complete . OER will consider accepting sites into the LBCP  that have been determined by DEC to be ineligible for the State’s Brownfield Cleanup Program, which has stringent eligibility criteria.  The LBCP also provides grants for investigation and cleanup of sites that are enrolled in the program, with priority given to certain types of projects, including community redevelopment projects and affordable housing projects. Continue reading

To List or Not To List – A New Wrinkle in the Gowanus Canal Superfund Site Debate

There is a new twist in the ongoing saga of whether to list the Gowanus Canal on the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Priorities List – a/k/a Superfund.  The City will be potentially liable for a portion of the clean up costs.

For those not entirely familiar with the recent history of the proposed redevelopment and proposed clean up, here is a quick recap: Continue reading