Judge: Coney suit baloney

The city acted properly when it rezoned portions of the Coney Island’s amusement distirct, shrinking the area available for rides from 47 acres to 12-1/2, and allowing hotels and housing to be built along the waterfront, a judge ruled yesterday.

The rezoning plan “is reasonably related to the legitimate governmental purpose of revitalizing the Coney Island economy, while restoring Coney Island to its iconic status,” Supreme Court Justice Eileen Rakower wrote.

The lawsuit by the organization Save Coney Island claimed that the city did not properly analyze the impact of development that would result from the zoning change. The suit also alleged that the City Council overstepped its authority by approving the plan.

But Rakower found that the city’s Environmental Impact Statement — which analyses the consequences of the rezoning — was properly conducted and that the Council rightfully approved the Coney plan.

Her findings also refute opponents’ allegation that the city bowed to developer interests — namely developer Joe Sitt, who sold most of his properties in Coney Island to the city for a whopping $95.6 million — in approving the rezoning.

Opponents to the plan were disappointed – and reiterated their claim that there was a superior alternative to the city’s plan that was ignored.

“If the city is not required to evaluate the only alternative that was put forward by experts in the field, but rather has the discretion to ignore it, then the requirements … regarding the study of alternatives are now meaningless,” said Save Coney’s attorney, Albert Butzel.

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