Lobby Day

Since 2007 HDC has fought for continued funding of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Preservation Lobby Day 2010:

May 12th 2010

Lobby day 2010 was a great success. As it has in the past Lobby Day took place on the steps of City Hall. Council Member Brad Lander and Kate Wood Executive Director of Landmark West! made speechs thanking all the preservation groups for their work and support for the West Park designation.West Park Presbyterian Church was scheduled to have a hearing on the same day. Many preservation groups came out in the rain to show their love of New York’s architectual history. The goal of Lobby Day 2010 was to represent to New York’s government how important preservation is to the many diverse neighborhoods of New York.

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Preservation Lobby Day 2009:

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

HDC worked with a citywide coalition to draft a Citywide Preservation Platform. This platform outlined 5 points which we will use to communicate our issues to the Mayoral candidates and other candidates for public office. (a full version of the platform can be found here)

1. Preservation is Sustainability – Preserving and re-using buildings and building materials saves money, energy, the environment, and also boosts local economies.

2. Preservation is Neighborhoods – Preservation of our historic buildings and neighborhoods is one of the most important factors in assuring that New York remains a livable and sustainable city.

3. Preservation is an Economic Catalyst – Preservation raises property values, strengthens the city’s tax base, and enhances tourism.

4. Preservation is Historic Religious Properties – Historic religious buildings are the anchors of many communities, and often provide social services that are not otherwise available.

5. Preservation is an effective Landmarks Commission – Investing in the Landmarks Preservation Commission is necessary for a better-staffed, more efficient and transparent LPC.

As this is a citywide platform, specific local issues unfortunately cannot be directly addressed, but all Neighborhood Partners are greatly encouraged to draft a platform or wish list to bring attention to specific issues that impact your neighborhood.

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Preservation Lobby Day 2008:

May 28, 2008 CALL TO RESTORE LANDMARKS FUNDING

THE HISTORIC DISTRICTS COUNCIL, together with a coalition of over 50 preservation groups (see back), is seeking a restoration of $300,000 to the Landmark Preservation Commission’s FY 2009 budget. This would allow the LPC to restore staffing to its 1991 level in order to effectively protect New York’s irreplaceable historic buildings and neighborhoods.

The LPC protects our city by designating historic buildings and neighborhoods as official landmarks and overseeing their development With New York’s real estate pressure at an all-time high, the LPC is inundated with public requests for landmark designation as well applications for permits to alter existing landmarks. Over 50 neighborhoods in all five boroughs currently have requests filed with the LPC to evaluate their communities for potential landmark designation. Literally thousands of New Yorkers have asked for attention and action from this city agency. Without added funding, the Landmarks Commission will not be able to deliver these needed services in an efficient or timely manner.

In relation to the City’s budget as a whole, the LPC’s budget is miniscule—less than one one-hundredth of one percent of the City’s expenditures ($4.3 million in FY 2008). Because of inadequate funding, the LPC’s staff has been perennially overburdened. Although applications for permits have more than doubled since 1990, the overall LPC staff has been cut by almost one third. This past year, the agency issued over 10,000 permits for work on designated properties – a record high. Responding to the community need, the LPC has also designated a record number of properties – a total of 1,158 last year – the highest number of designations since 1990. This was only possible due to the $300,000 in additional funding granted by the City Council last year.

In 2006, City Council members Jessica Lappin (M), Tony Avella (Q) and Diana Reyna (BK) sponsored an increase of $250,000 to the Landmarks Preservation Commission budget for FY 2007, this additional funding was increased to $300,000 in FY 2008. This addition boosted the LPC’s effectiveness considerably – the agency used the funds to hire five full-time staff members (on one-year contracts) dedicated to survey and research work, which led to designation activities in all five boroughs. Because of the increase in staff, the Commission was able to designate the 1,158 historic buildings in FY 2008, a more than 2,000% increase of the number since FY 2005. In addition, in the past two years, the LPC has been able to survey over 22,000 buildings across the city for potential landmark designation. This, too, was only possible with the additional City Council funding.

Unfortunately, the current budget does not carry this increase over to 2009. Without the added staff, there is no way that the LPC can continue its preservation activities at its current level. These are needed city services that benefit thousands of New Yorkers.

The Following Groups Support a Funding Restoration of $300,000
For The Landmarks Preservation Commission

10th & Stuyvesant Streets Block Association
93rd Street Beautification Association
Bay Improvement Group
Bay Ridge Conservancy
Bayside Civic Database
Bayside Historical Society
Brooklyn Heights Association
Brownstone Revival Coalition
Cambridge Place Action Coalition
Carnegie Hill Neighbors
Citizens Emergency Committee to Preserve Preservation
City Lore
Cobble Hill Association
Concerned Citizens of Greenwood Heights
Concerned Citizens of Laurelton
Councilmember Gentile’s Preservation Committee
Crown Heights North Association
Defenders of the Historic Upper East Side
Ditmas Park Association
DOCOMOMO US New York/Tri-State
The Drive to Protect the Ladies’ Mile District
DUMBO Neighborhood Association
East Village Community Coalition
Fiske Terrace Association
Fort Greene Association
Four Bough Neighborhood Preservation Alliance
Friends of First Avenue Estate
Friends of Terra Cotta
Friends of the Hall of Fame for Great Americans
Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct
Friends of the Upper East Historic Districts
Fulton Ferry Landing Association
Greenwich Village Community Task Force
Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation
Historic Districts Council
Historic Neighborhood Enhancement Alliance
Jackson Heights Garden City Society
Jerome Park Conservancy
Kew Gardens Hills Civic Association
Kew Gardens Improvement Association
Landmark West!
Merchant’s House Museum
Metropolitan Historic Structures Association
Modern Architecture Working Group
Municipal Art Society
Murray Hill Neighborhood Association
New York Landmarks Conservancy
New York Preservation Alliance
North Shore Waterfront Greenbelt
Place Matters
Preservation League of Staten Island
Preservation Volunteers
Preserve & Protect
Queens Civic Congress
Rego-Forest Preservation Group
RESTORE
Richmond Hill Historical Society
Riverdale Historic District
Senator Street Historic District
Society For Clinton Hill
Society for the Architecture of the City
Sunnyside Gardens Preservation Alliance
Tottenville Historical Society
Tribeca Community Association
West 54-55 Street Block Association
West 122nd Street Block Association
West Brighton Restoration Society
Williamsburg Greenpoint Preservation Alliance

List in formation (June 4, 2008)

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Statement before the City Council
Preliminary Budget Hearing on the Landmarks Preservation Commission

March 6, 2008 – The Historic Districts Council is the citywide advocate for New York’s historic districts and neighborhoods meriting preservation. The Landmarks Preservation Commission is the only city agency specifically tasked to ensure that New York City’s historic buildings and neighborhoods are preserved . Other city agencies affect our neighborhoods and as New Yorkers concerned with the continued physical well-being of our city’s historic communities, we must stop expecting the LPC to solve every problem a historic neighborhood faces. That being said, a strong, efficient LPC is critical to the health and vitality of our historic city and it is my pleasure to testify before the City Council regarding the agency’s preliminary budget.

Over the past two years, the City Council has proven itself to be a strong partner to the LPC, twice increasing the agency’s budget which has borne remarkable fruit. These increases have enabled the LPC to sustain itself during a record period of construction and development activity; in this past fiscal year the agency having designated over 1,000 buildings in all five boroughs over and issued close to 10,000 permits for work on buildings under its oversight. When the current size of the agency is considered – 60 or so fulltime staff and an annual budget of less than $4 million – this productivity is even more remarkable.

Given both the demand on the agency and its recent success in meeting it, the Historic Districts Council feels it is imperative that the Landmarks Preservation Commission is able to continue to operate at its current level. That is why have asked Mayor Bloomberg to ensure that the LPC budget not be cut, despite a tough budget climate, and that the $300,000 added by the City Council last year be base-lined into the agency budget.

HDC appreciates that the Mayor’s plan for 2030 understands the importance of neighborhood character. Historic districts help protect that character, raising property values and providing popular places to live and visit. Addressing the demand for additional districts while maintaining appropriate oversight of existing districts is a crucial part of ensuring that New York City will meet the challenges of the years ahead. In fact, HDC is about to host a series of panels on that topic this weekend.

The Council should be aware that, to the best of our knowledge, there are currently more than 50 areas, in every borough, where citizens and community groups are asking for new historic districts to be designated. These proposed districts encompass over 18,000 thousand buildings and thousands of New Yorkers. These are regular citizens who want the City’s help to maintain and enhance their communities . The best way to do this is through a strong, efficient Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Should the Mayor base-line the additional funds that the City Council has so generously provided over the past two years., we do ask that the Council contemplate how to best enhance and strengthen the agency further. A few suggestions would be the enactment of Intro 542, the Landmarks Protection Bill, holding hearings on the Tax Assessment Bill introduced by Councilmember Gioia last spring and even revisiting the Demolition Delay Bill introduced by Councilmember McMahon early in this session. Even more radical ideas for enhancements would be an investigation of preservation incentives – be it an increase in the Community Block grants already administered by LPC, some kind of Main Street or façade improvement program or perhaps something I haven’t even thought of yet. Landmarking is forever and by making an investment in it, we are making an investment in our city’s future. What do WE want New York to look like in 20 years?

Thanks for Visiting

The Historic Districts Council is the advocate for all of New York City's historic neighborhoods. HDC is the only organization in New York that works directly with people who care about our city's historic neighborhoods and buildings. We represent a constituency of over 500 local community organizations.

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