Planned parkland shrinks; developers get more opportunities for enclosed amusements. On April 17, 2008, the City revised its comprehensive plan to redevelop a 47-acre area of the Coney Island peninsula, after holding its public scoping meeting two months earlier.
Initiated by the Department of City Planning and the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the plan covers 19 blocks of the neighborhood, stretching from the New York Aquarium to West 24th Street, and from Mermaid Avenue to the boardwalk. The rezoning is designed to transform the iconic beachfront amusement area into an affordable, year-round urban amusement and entertainment destination alongside a concentration of new residential and retail uses.
The new plan builds upon the 2005 Coney Island Strategic Plan, created by the Coney Island Development Corporation. On April 17, 2008, Lynn Kelly, President of the Development Corporation, announced revisions to the plan, including an increase in development opportunities for enclosed amusements, a decrease in new mapped parkland from 15 to 9 acres, and the opportunity for existing land owners to develop their property.
According to City Planning, much of the proposed rezoning area is currently vacant or underutilized due to real estate speculation and seasonal use. Under the plan, the City would rezone existing C7 and R6/C1-2 districts in order to foster up to 5,000 new housing units and 500,000 sq.ft. of new retail space. The plan would also establish a Special Coney Island District, with density and height restrictions designed to preserve views. City Planning anticipates that building heights would be limited to 270 feet, equal to the landmarked Parachute Jump. Lastly, the plan calls for mapping the historic amusement area, located between Keyspan Park and the New York Aquarium, as parkland in order to permanently preserve the area.
City Planning estimates that the rezoning would create more than $2.5 billion of private investment in the next decade, add $6.5 billion in tax revenue, and create 20,000 construction jobs and 3,000 permanent jobs.
Coney Island Development Corporation: Press Release (Apr. 17, 2008); Draft Scope, Coney Island Rezoning (CEQR No. 08D ME0 07K) (Jan. 11, 2008).