Help the Landmarks Preservation Commission Get Needed Funds to Preserve Our City

The Historic Districts Council, together with a coalition of over 30 preservation groups (see below), is seeking a $1 million increase to the LPC’s FY 2008 budget. This would allow the LPC to restore staffing to its 1991 level and to effectively protect New York’s valuable historic buildings and neighborhoods.

The LPC protects our city’s historic fabric by regulating alterations to designated landmarks and designating unprotected buildings and districts. At its current staffing levels, the commission cannot adequately do both. With development booming, the LPC is inundated with permit applications and must devote more and more of its scarce resources and staff time to the regulation of existing landmarks—at the cost of new landmark and historic district designations. Furthermore, it is critical that the LPC be able to issue permits efficiently, which requires adequate preservation staff. The Commission therefore needs a $1 million budget increase to hire a larger staff.

Background
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 2007). Even with a one million dollar increase, the LPC’s budget will remain less than one one-hundredth of one percent of the City’s expenditures. Because of inadequate funding, the LPC’s staff is overburdened. Although applications for permits have more than doubled since 1990, the LPC staff has been cut by almost one third. As a result, the commission’s regulatory workload has skyrocketed.

The dedicated staff of the LPC has kept up with the rising tide of permits (almost 10,000 last year)—at the cost of the designations needed to preserve the historic neighborhoods and buildings that make New York special. The number of sites that the LPC designates as landmarks each year has been decreasing, despite increased community demand for more designations. As more buildings are designated, the number of permit applications will increase, which further burdens the existing staff.

Last Year’s Increase
Last year, 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 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 is on track to designate more than 1,000 historic buildings this year, a more than 2,000% increase of the number since FY 2005. Unfortunately, the 2007 budget increase was only for last year and will not carry over to 2008. Without the added staff, there is no way that the LPC can continue its preservation activities at its current level.

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

Participate in PRESERVATION LOBBY DAY: MAY 9, 2007
On Preservation lobby day, constituents will be calling upon their Council Members with one unified message: that increasing the LPC budget appropriation by $1 million should be a top priority in their budget.

Call Your Council Member And Ask Them to Support This Increase.
Go to http://www.nyccouncil.info/constituent/index.cfm to find your Council Member.

Join us on City Hall steps at 12pm to support More Money for New York’s Landmarks!

The Following Groups Support $1 Million In Additional Funding For The Landmarks Preservation Commission

American Institute of Architects, NYC Chapter
Bay Improvement Group
Boerum Hill Association
Brooklyn Community Board # 2
Brooklyn Community Board # 6
Brooklyn Heights Association
Citizens Emergency Committee to Preserve Preservation
Cobble Hill Association
Defenders of the Historic Upper East Side
The Drive to Protect the Ladies’ Mile District
DUMBO Neighborhood Association
East Village Community Coalition
Fort Greene Association
Four Borough Neighborhood Preservation Alliance
Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts
Fulton Ferry Landing Association
Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation
Historic Districts Council
The Historic Neighborhood Enhancement Alliance
Landmark West!
Lower East Side Tenement Museum
Merchant’s House Museum
Municipal Art Society
New York Landmarks Conservancy
Park Slope Civic Council
Preservation League of Staten Island
Preserve & Protect
Queens Civic Congress
Queens Preservation Council
Richmond Hill Historical Society
Society for the Architecture of the City
Westerleigh Improvement Society
Women’s City Club of New York
List in formation

Don’t see your organization’s name? Email sbankoff@hdc.org and say “sign me up”

Posted Under: Alert, Event, HDC, Legislation, LPC

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