Last Chance for Council to Fix Coney Island Rezoning Plan

The City Council’s Land Use Committee has a final opportunity tomorrow (Tues. 7/20) to recommend urgently needed revisions to the City’s flawed rezoning plan for Coney Island.

The Land Use Committee met today and recessed without making any recommendations — a sign that the City has not yet done the necessary work to fix its plan.

Tomorrow, the committee has an opportunity to do the right thing for Coney Island. It should expand the amusement area and remove the proposed high-rises from the south side of Surf Avenue, as has been urged by the Municipal Art Society, The New York Times editorial board and Coney Island’s unofficial “mayor,” Dick Zigun of Coney Island USA. Coney Island’s Community Board 13 also requested that the high-rises be relocated.

“The City Council has a historic opportunity to fix this flawed rezoning plan and head off disaster for Coney Island,” said Save Coney Island spokesman Juan Rivero. “New Yorkers from all parts of the city love and care about Coney Island. Each and every member of the City Council has a responsibility to preserve this iconic amusement attraction for their constituents and for future generations.”

The Land Use Committee and its Zoning subcommittee will be meeting tomorrow at City Hall at 10:30 a.m.

Fifteen leading historians of New York City — including two Pulitzer Prize winners — recently signed an open letter criticizing the City’s rezoning plan for Coney Island and urging the City Council to fix it.

“Coney Island is a place of great national historic significance. It is the birthplace of the modern American amusement industry,” they wrote. “The City’s rezoning plan for Coney Island, however, dishonors its past and sacrifices its future.”

“This plan must not be allowed to pass in its present form. The City Council must step up and fix this plan. It needs to expand the acreage for amusements, remove the high-rises from the heart of the amusement district and preserve Coney Island’s historic buildings,” they continued.

“The City Council has a responsibility to protect this iconic American place. If it fails to fulfill this responsibility, the judgment of history will be a harsh one,” they concluded.

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