Brooklyn Paper excerpts
Mayor Bloomberg’s controversial plan to redevelop Coney Island came under a blistering attack from a hostile City Council committee on Wednesday.
It was a theatrical spectacle as members of the Land Use and Franchise Committee badgered Bloomberg administration officials on the details of a plan to rezone a large area between the Cyclone roller coaster and the Keyspan Park minor-league baseball stadium to build a theme park, hotels, and attractions, plus 4,500 apartments.
The committee, following the lead of Councilman Domenic Recchia (D–Coney Island) who was shouting from the start, aggressively questioned Bloomberg’s emissaries on the possible use of eminent domain to acquire land for the proposed city-owned amusement park and the plan’s need for accompanying legislation in dysfunctional Albany.
Recchia insisted that the city directly say if it would condemn land — specifically, the 10-1/2 acres owned by his friend, Joe Sitt — to pursue its transformation of the shrinking amusement area.
“This is reality. This is not a hypothetical. This is my community,” Recchia yelled at Seth Pinsky, president of the city’s Economic Development Corporation.
“Yes or no?” Recchia insisted.
The plan ran into additional trouble with the committee, which was almost entirely critical of the mayor’s proposal, over a technical issue requiring state legislation.
The portion of the plan, which calls for housing on what is now the Keyspan Stadium parking lot and currently mapped as parkland, would require state approval so it can be used for residential development. But so far, no Albany lawmaker has been willing to introduce a bill to do just that.
“It’s almost as if the entire project is dependent on a body that you have no support in,” Councilwoman Melinda Katz (D–Queens) told Pinsky.
Another hearing on the mayor’s redevelopment plan for Coney Island is tentatively scheduled for 10 am on Monday, July 13, at City Hall (Broadway at Chambers Street in Manhattan).