Council Fails to Request Needed Changes to City’s Coney Island Rezoning Plan

Local activist group Save Coney Island is disappointed by the failure of the City Council’s Land Use Committee today to make necessary revisions to the City’s flawed rezoning plan for Coney Island.

The City’s flawed plan will now proceed to the full City Council for a vote, without the needed revisions having been made to ensure Coney Island’s future as a world-class amusement destination.

Save Coney Island, the Municipal Art Society, The New York Times editorial board and Coney Island’s unofficial “mayor,” Dick Zigun of Coney Island USA, had all urged that the proposed open-air amusement park be expanded and that the four high-rise hotel towers currently proposed for the south side of Surf Avenue be removed. Coney Island’s Community Board 13 also requested that the high-rises be relocated.

Unfortunately, the Land Use Committee ignored these calls.

Save Coney Island is heartened, however, by suggestions made by Council members that the issues we have raised will be addressed by the City before they council renders a final vote on the plan. Should the City succeed in its negotiations to purchase Thor Equities’ land in Coney Island, it will gain greater control over how that land is eventually used. The City must expand the size of its proposed amusement park, work to keep high-rises out of the core amusement area and protect the historic buildings that line the south side of Surf Avenue.

“The City Council’s Land Use Committee unfortunately failed to back the zoning revisions needed to prevent the destruction of Coney Island as a world-class amusement destination,” said Save Coney Island spokesman Juan Rivero. “There were, however, suggestions that these issues would be addressed before the full City Council’s final vote on the plan. We hope that the council’s final approval of the plan will be made contingent upon the Bloomberg administration offering concrete assurances that will guarantee the future of Coney Island’s famed amusement district.”

Save Coney Island would like to thank Council member Tony Avella, chair of the council’s Zoning & Franchises Committee, for putting forward a proposal urging the City to expand acreage for amusements and remove the high-rises proposed for the south side of Surf Avenue. These proposals were based upon the recommendations of the Municipal Art Society, which were endorsed by The New York Times. Unfortunately, the zoning committee rejected these proposals.

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