City Council Proposes Vast Changes to the Landmarks Process in Important Meeting on Wednesday, May 2

The City Council’s Committee on Housing & Buildings and Committee on Land Use will be holding at joint hearing next week on Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 10:00 AM at 250 Broadway, 14th Floor regarding a number of bills regarding the Landmarks Preservation Commission and landmarked buildings.  The current agenda with links to the bills being heard is available by clicking here.  Please check back on the hearing webpage on Monday afternoon for a finalized agenda (see proposed bill texts).

While the language of the proposed bills attempts to answer concerns about the workings of the LPC,  some of these bills, as currently written, would change the way buildings and neighborhoods are considered for landmark protection – and not necessarily for the better.  As we understand the language of the proposed bills, many preservation campaigns which have been active for several years could potentially be set back in their progress while the designation and regulation activities of the LPC could be severely affected.

 

UNFORTUNATELY, as currently scheduled, each member of the public will only have 3 minutes to testify on at least 8 proposed bills, some of which will only be introduced on Monday, April 30! That the City Council is taking an interest in these issues is to be applauded, but under these circumstances, only a cursory statement will be possible at best. HDC feel s that this is an incredibly missed opportunity for public discourse about the workings of the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

 

It is still VERY CRUCIAL to attend this hearing to demonstrate to the Council that these are issues which are important to a broad reach of New Yorkers invested in preserving their neighborhoods. We must demonstrate to the Council that People Want Preservation. However, rather than condense your commentary on these important initiatives to the point of inconsequence, HDC strongly urges community preservationists to make a statement along the following lines:

 People in communities throughout NYC want to preserve their buildings and neighborhoods. They are seeking attention from the LPC.

 Although there are some very real concerns about how the LPC goes about responding to this cry for action from the communities and some of this proposed legislation responds to some of these concerns, there has not been enough time to discuss, analyze or examine these bills in a thoughtful manner or to gain consensus among the people who care most about these issues.

 We strongly urge the Council to continue this public discussion with community stakeholders in a setting and on a schedule more conducive to constructive conversation.

 Remember: If you’re planning on attending, please build in extra time to get through security at 250 Broadway and be prepared to be at the hearing until at least 12:30pm. Please contact HDC to let us know you will be attending or for more information.  We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday to testify on this important matter affecting landmarked buildings across the city.

 

Posted Under: City Council, Legislation, LPC, The Politics of Preservation

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