Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Forum on Coney Island Plan Abruptly Canceled

It sounds like it was quite a scene at Coney Island Hospital last night for the first public forum on the city's new Coney Island zoning strategy and plan, which did not get off to an auspicious start. We couldn't attend because we're somewhat under the weather, but had been in contact with Coney Island Development Corp. Chair Lynn Kelly earlier in the day and knew that the 200-capacity auditorium was already full to the bursting point based on RSVPs. Kinetic Carnival, which always produces authoritative Coney Island coverage, describes the scene this way:
The community, the press, some city officials, members of the CIDC, a few nice folks from the Coney Isand USA bulletin board, as well as a bus-load of about 400 to 500 people, all spilled out onto the Coney Island Hospital parking lot due to a cancellation of last night's Coney Island Development Corporation Information meeting due to an overwhelming amount past what's allowed at the hospital's auditorium.

Lynn Kelly was very apologetic and told KC that the meeting was cancelled due to so many people that were not on the RSVP list showing up in bus loads. Roughly over 400 showed up out of nowhere wearing yellow ball caps that read "Bloombergs plan: How much? How long? Who pays?", which resulted in the cancellation of the meeting. The hospital's auditorium capacity is no more than 200.
After the meeting was canceled, City Council Member Dominic Recchia, accused the CIDC of doing so "on purpose" to thwart public discussion. The CIDC promises to reschedule the meeting at a venue that can handle a much larger capacity crowd.

One thing that seems clear is that there is an intense level of interest in the city's plan that was never generated when developer Joe Sitt was presenting his Coney Island plans and that there is some significant opposition to the city's plan within the local community. The review process is not going to be boring. There is full coverage of the cancellation at Kinetic Carnival as well as a copy of the flier that CIDC was handing out to people that couldn't be accommodated in the auditorium before the meeting was canceled.

[Photo courtesy of Kinetic Carnival]

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