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Planning Commission Approves Coney Island Redevelopment

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The City Planning Commission voted Wednesday 12-0 in favor of a plan to redevelop Coney Island in Brooklyn.

There was one abstention from a new commissioner who joined the board two weeks ago.

Supporters say the 19-block plan creates 4,500 housing units as well as restaurants, hotels, shopping and performance spaces, and that the project will create 20,000 construction jobs and more than 6,000 permanent jobs.

A 27-acre amusement and entertainment district with housing and hotels is also planned for the site.

"It will create about 4,500 units of housing and 900 affordable units," said NYC Department of Planning Chairwoman Amanda Burden. "In the entertainment and amusement district, it will preserve, in perpetuity, the open amusement area rides that everyone knows and loves."

But while some amusement park experts are rallying behind the plan, and even offered advice on how to make it a year-round destination with indoor attractions, the major opponents say the plan needs more rides and bigger amusements.

Other critics charge the plan does not include enough affordable housing, and the new jobs do not meet wage and benefits standards.

Protestors disrupted the commission's meeting in Downtown Manhattan and then moved outside the building where the vote was held to stage a rally against the plan.

"I want jobs for the community, the infrastructure to be fixed before they build new stuff, and affordable housing, that's the main concern," said Carmen Gonzalez of Coney Island ACORN.

"Everybody's excited about a development in Coney Island, but right now the city hasn't guaranteed that this development is going to lead to good jobs or lead to affordable housing."

The city has been disputing with developer Joe Sitt of Thor Equities, who owns about 10 acres of waterfront property, to move forward with the plan. Sitt says he wants to develop the property himself and has been in talks with the city to sell his land, which includes the site of the Astroland amusement park.

The local community board and Borough President Marty Markowitz back the Planning Commission's plan.

The plan must now go to the City Council for another vote.

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