HDC's Preservation Methods
As advocate for neighborhoods not designated but meriting protection, we advise community groups that come to us because they are seeking historic designation. An HDC staff member meets with them in their neighborhoods to talk about what designation means and advises them how to proceed. Later, a committee of HDC tours the proposed district on foot, taking notes and photographs. With that information, we make concrete suggestions and then counsel groups on how to apply for designation, on what kind of research is necessary and how to get it done. We always stress the importance of community support and help local groups obtain it.
Sometimes HDC initiates the designation process itself, usually in nonresidential areas that do not have local community leaders. In those cases, HDC sponsors the work that would otherwise be done by a community group.
We also sponsor applications to State and National Registers of Historic Places. Listing on these Registers often helps move the designation process forward at the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
To preserve the integrity of the Landmarks Law, we monitor behavior of city government and the LPC, taking issue with actions and policies when we feel we should. HDC testifies before the City Planning Commission, the Art Commission, the Board of Standards and Appeals and the City Council, usually on the effect a proposal would have on historic neighborhoods.