Thursday, April 17, 2008

Letter From CIDC's Prez Lynn Kelly On Changes To Coney Plan

Lynn Kelly has sent out a letter via e-mail regarding a few adjustments to the Coney Island zoning framework. Explained and outlined, the letter is posted in its entirety below:

April 17, 2008

Dear friends and residents of Coney Island:

From the moment we started drafting the City’s comprehensive plans for the rezoning and redevelopment of Coney Island, we have maintained there are certain core principles that are critical to the success of any Coney Island plan:

- Long term preservation of a vibrant amusement district is paramount, and the mapping of such a district as parkland is necessary to ensure its viability

Property owners in Coney Island have to be invested in the success of
this plan along with the City

- We must take active steps to help transform Coney Island into a year-round destination, and enclosed amusements and entertainment retail are essential to this transformation

- The plan must provide an integrated development vision for the entire neighborhood – not only the amusement core in Coney East, but also Coney North and Coney West – and create real opportunities for new housing and economic development

While the zoning framework we announced last Fall was a detailed and thoughtful realization of these core principles (and many more), we said from the outset that it was also a work in progress and that we would continue to work with Coney Island’s elected officials, community leaders, land owners and residents to ensure that the final plan was the best it could possibly be.

I am pleased, therefore, to be able to update you on some recent modest adjustments to the Coney Island zoning framework that have both strengthened our finalized plans and will help to move this critically important project toward completion. This revised framework represents an extremely strong foundation for Coney Island’s revitalization and we are excited about now moving forward with it through the public review process.

While we will be sharing much more detailed information with you and other Coney Island stakeholders soon, we wanted to share just a few brief updates on some of these modifications:

- We have increased development opportunities for enclosed amusements and year-round entertainment retail uses

- To accommodate this increased development, while still preserving a major amusement district and enabling us to develop a world class amusement park, we have decreased the size of the new mapped parkland from 15 to 9 acres

- We have created the opportunity for existing land owners – such as long time Coney Island boosters like the Vourderis family, owners of the Wonder Wheel – to develop their properties

Along with these positive changes, we have maintained our commitment to the fundamental aspects of the Coney Island plan, such as the need to create additional active, exciting, year-round entertainment-related uses in Coney East and prevent the district from becoming a generic seaside shopping mall; our steadfast belief that residential housing is not appropriate for the amusement district; and a continued effort to limit higher-density hotels and taller structures to the areas along Surf Avenue, away from the Boardwalk.

As you can see, while some details have been altered in our quest to make this plan a reality, what hasn’t changed is our commitment to our core principles and our overall vision for what Coney Island should – and shouldn’t – be as we secure its long term well-being.

We are proud that we are already receiving positive feedback from key stakeholders on our recent efforts – for example, as you will note in the attached article, Councilman Domenic Recchia, Borough President Marty Markowitz and key landowners such as Dennis Vourderis told the NY Times that they were “optimistic” and believed the City “was headed in the right direction” – and we look forward to bringing you up to date with additional information in the near future.

Lynn Kelly

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