Friday, September 19, 2008

Coney Crossroads Meeting Response

The Municipal Arts Society's presentation of 'Coney Island At The Crossroads' presented much the same as the last CIDC Scoping meeting this summer, according to Coney Island USA message board poster, Thunderbolt Kin.

Lynn Kelly went through the reasons why it is of the utmost importance that the rezoning plan go through. She said that the city could designate east Coney as parkland and in that way it could protect the amusement area. She claimed that c7 zoning could not protect Coney from vacant lots and inappropriate retail. She showed us slides of Coney Island from this morning showing empty lots, one lot was the Thunderbolt land and the other was Sitt's on Stillwell. She also showed a
slide of the Russian furniture stores as examples of how C7 can't protect Coney. She talked about how the city tried to get Thor to negotiate with the Alberts to extend their lease for another year but Thor wasn't interested.

Dick Zigun spoke about how the plan as it is, is an insult to the amusement industry. He asked that the city go back to the plan that had been worked out by Kelly in which 16 acres were set aside for outdoor amusements. He pointed out that after much work in putting that plan together the city rejected it in April with just one word, "unrealistic."

Carol Albert talked about the plans that her family had submitted to the city for a year round Astroland which included a hotel and enclosed rides.

When it came time for Q & A I asked Lynn Kelly why the city lets Thor push it around. If Thor wouldn't give Astroland a lease extention and they refuse to build amusements on C7 land why doesn't the city take back the land through eminent domain. I also pointed out that C7 was put in place to protect Coney amusements from people like Thor. Why doesn't the city just enforce it's own rules to protect Coney. Her answer was that there is no eminent domain. That the city prefers to take a civil approach to the land holders. She said that C7 just can't protect Coney and that's why there must be a rezoning.

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After the meeting I pointed out to her that the empty lots she talked about were caused by the city. I pointed out that Horrace Bullard was going to build an amusement park which was during the Dinkins administration. Then Guiliani came along and put a stop to his plans and demolished the Thunderbolt which caused the empty lot she had on her slide. Kelly said she couldn't speak for the Dinkins or Guiliani administration because she didn't know the history. Shouldn't someone in her position know the full history of Coney Island before they undertake to renew it?

You can read the full post and follow the discussion here at the Coney Island USA message baord.

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