Despite protest from Coney Island residents who say they need more affordable housing, the City Planning Commission voted 12-0 today to approve a controversial rezoning plan for the area. The proposal would rezone Coney Island to encourage the development of towers up to 27 stories tall, expand retail spaces, add 4,500 new housing units (800 of which would be affordable units), and create a new 27-acre indoor-outdoor amusement and entertainment district.

Protesters demonstrated outside 22 Reade Street this morning, where the vote was held, and one opponent told NY1: "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."

Other opponents, like the mermaids, the Municipal Art Society and a group called Save Coney Island, say the rezoning will just reduce Coney Island to a "shopping mall filled with retail, high rise buildings and hotels." They also hate that the plan limits the area reserved for the outdoor rides to a narrow 12-acre strip of land, down from some 60 acres currently zoned for amusements, and want high rises out of the amusement district. In a statement, Save Coney Island spokesman says, "This plan spells disaster for Coney Island."

And another chronic question mark is whether the city ever will be able to wrest 10 acres of land for the amusement district from developer Joe "Snidely Whiplash" Sitt. The city has not ruled out the option of seizing the property through eminent domain, but such a move would likely tie Coney Island up in court for many years to come. At any rate, the rezoning plan now goes to the City Council for approval.