Monday, January 22, 2007

Coney Island's Future to be Determined by Late Spring?

Coney at Sunset

When it comes to a community's future, 90 percent of what matters is determined in a rezoning. So it will be in Coney Island, where a preliminary comprehensive rezoning is apparently due by late spring. That's the news reported by the Courier-Life papers in a story by Stephen Witt. Any documents that are produced will be followed by a public review. The land use review process could begin by fall.

Mayor Bloomberg mentioned rezoning Coney Island in his State of the City Address and the major Coney Island development players, Thor Equities and Taconic Investment Partners are said to be frustrated that the neighborhood hasn't been rezoned. Both firms are hoping to build luxury housing in the area currently zoned for amusements. While the development of hotels and retailing in the amusement zone is not particularly controversial, creation of housing and the shrinkage of the "amusement district" is a hot button issue among some in the neighborhood.

The story says, in part:
It also comes as preservationists worry that the city’s only zoned amusement area will be rezoned to include residential developments near the boardwalk...The much-anticipated rezoning comes after the city formed the Coney Island Development Corporation in September 2003 and a strategic plan about a year later.

The plan’s goals are for a vibrant year-round entertainment destination, enhanced amusement and seaside attractions and a vibrant neighborhood that provides opportunities for local residents.

According to several sources familiar with the redevelopment of Coney Island, the city has not moved as fast as some would have hoped.

Some in the know have speculated that part of the reason why the city has been somewhat slow in a comprehensive rezoning of the area is because of the loss of two key city employees who moved on to other jobs.
Skeptics fear that traditional amusements will all but disappear from Coney Island if the developers demands for zoning that would allow housing in the amusement zone are included in the rezoning.



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