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adult Staten Island Waterfront cover Plan For The Staten Island Waterfront, 1994. ($5.00)
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The Plan for the Staten Island Waterfront, a part of New York City's Comprehensive Waterfront Plan issued in August 1992, presents detailed studies of the borough's five reaches, or waterfront study areas.

Staten Island, with one-fifth of the city's shoreline, offers numerous opportunities to capitalize on its stunning views of, and connections to, Manhattan, Brooklyn and New Jersey from the north shore and to enhance the marshes, coves and cliffs of the natural waterfront along the south shore. With nearly half of its waterfront zoned for industrial use -- by far the highest proportion among the five boroughs -- many large vacant sites are available for industrial reuse or for residential and commercial redevelopment. Staten Island's waterfront also contains almost 4,000 acres of parks dedicated to recreation and to the preservation of natural resources -- 3,000 acres in the Gateway National Recreation Area alone.

The Staten Island Ferry, a major tourist attraction, and four bridges connect the island to the larger metropolitan area. The north shore contains the island's principal gateways -- the Ferry Terminal and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge -- and its civic and cultural center. Staten Island is the city's only borough with a government center oriented toward the harbor. Though greatly affected by economic shifts within the borough, declining population and a high vacancy rate, the St. George government center and surrounding neighborhoods could benefit substantially by redevelopment or reuse of dormant waterfront properties along the north shore -- including the soon-to-be vacated Staten Island Homeport and the 33-acre vacant site once occupied by the CSX Railroad just north of the St. George Ferry Terminal.

In the southeastern part of the island, low-density residential development borders the sand shores of the Gateway National Recreation Area and numerous city parks including Wolfe's Pond, Lemon Creek and Conference House parks. Residential development and population have burgeoned along the south shore since 1970. Recently approved or newly built residential developments are bringing over 800 new housing units to the waterfront, primarily on the south shore along Raritan Bay.

Along the western shore of the borough, large industrial and municipal uses, including bulk oil storage facilities and the 3,000-acre Fresh Kills landfill, intermingle with one of the city's most extensive wetlands systems -- the Harbor Herons complex.

An astonishing variety of natural environments, emerging from a geologically complex mix of underlying materials, are found along Staten Island's shores. They include the sandy uplands of the south shore, the lowland woods and forested wetlands that form the largest concentration of freshwater wetlands in the city, the tidal marshes of Lemon Creek and the Harbor Herons area, and the freshwater ponds that were once brackish inlets to the bay.

Six of the city's 15 state-designated Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitats are located on Staten Island. Five are found primarily in the Harbor Herons area which the Comprehensive Waterfront Plan designates a Special Natural Waterfront Area. These designated areas include the tidal marshes of Main, Springville and Richmond creeks and the Isle of Meadows at Fresh Kills; the 80-acre Pralls Island; Chelsea and Merrell's marshes and Sawmill Creek; Old Place Creek and Goethals Bridge Pond, and 50 acres of Shooter's Island. On Raritan Bay, Lemon Creek, a tidal, estuarine and freshwater wetland system, is also a Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitat. The reach plans call for protecting these and other ecologically important tracts of land through acquisition, transfer to the Department of Parks or the Department of Environmental Protection, and revision of Waterfront Revitalization Program policies.

The plan presents diverse strategies for increasing and enhancing public use and enjoyment of the borough's waterfront. Implementation of the Department's 1988 North Shore Esplanade Plan will require a concerted effort by agencies and communities to coordinate incremental development of the esplanade by public and private property owners. An interim trail along all or parts of the North Shore Railroad right-of-way may also be feasible, allowing cyclists and hikers to travel safely and pleasantly from the Ferry Terminal to Snug Harbor and, perhaps, the Goethals Bridge. In all five Staten Island reaches, recommendations for improved access to the water's edge within city parks and selected street end improvements aim to connect upland neighborhoods to their waterfronts.

With large tracts of vacant industrially zoned land and access to the deep waters of the Kill Van Kull, Staten Island can support a vital working waterfront. The north shore and land along the Kill Van Kull were once active maritime and commercial areas until waterborne freight and rail activity began to decline several decades ago. The Comprehensive Waterfront Plan designates the area bordering the Kill Van Kull from Howland Hook to Snug Harbor as one of six Significant Maritime/ Industrial Areas in the city. Encompassing clusters of maritime activity as well as large vacant or underutilized industrial sites such as Howland Hook, the Arlington Yards and Port Ivory,this area has the potential to provide good transportation and market access, and intermodal connections to the larger metropolitan area. Howland Hook, the largest marine terminal on the New York side of the harbor, has facilities for container and break bulk shipping. Planned reactivation of the North Shore line of the Staten Island Railroad would provide rail freight service from New Jersey to Howland Hook and an intermodal facility at the adjoining Arlington Yards.

The industrial base along the west shore has declined, leaving large tracts of underutilized land within sensitive tidal wetland environments. The declining market for industrial sites, lack of infrastructure and the presence of natural features limit the development potential of the Arthur Kill South reach. There are, however, several opportunities to enhance public access to the Tottenville waterfront and to lessen residential/industrial conflicts in the historic Kreischerville community.

Public dialogue has contributed importantly to the development of the Comprehensive Waterfront Plan. During the past two years, more than 100 public meetings have been held to elicit the views of public officials, community boards, civic and neighborhood organizations. A citywide Waterfront Plan Advisory Committee worked with the Department to identify and discuss issues and opportunities affecting the future of the city's waterfront.

Community boards, borough boards and local elected officials have assisted with the reach studies at two stages in their development: the issues identification phase and, more recently, review of the preliminary reach recommendations summarized in the Comprehensive Waterfront Plan. The final reach studies contained in this report reflect modifications in response to public comment. Public participation in the waterfront planning process will continue over the coming months and years as elements of the local plans move toward implementation.

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