Certificate of Appropriateness Testimony

[email protected] – Testimony for LPC Zoom Hearing on June 30, 2020

PLEASE NOTE: In an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) is adjusting its processes and procedures to ensure the agency continues to provide services to the city while protecting the health of its employees and the general public. The agency is currently holding public hearings and meetings through Zoom, and live-streaming them through its YouTube channel. This enables applicants to present their projects to the Commission and the public to watch the presentations live on YouTube. Interested members of the public will also be able to provide live testimony by joining in through the Zoom app or by calling from any telephoneFor information regarding online public participation, visit the LPC’s website here.

The Historic Districts Council (HDC) reviews every public proposal affecting New York City’s landmarks and historic districts and provides testimony to the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) whenever it is needed.

Please continue reading for our testimony regarding the latest items under consideration by the Commission. We invite you to visit the [email protected] blog for an archive containing all of our past testimony.

Item 1

237-02 Hollywood Avenue – Douglaston Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1940446

A Mediterranean Revival style house built in 1927. Application is to construct a rear addition, entrance portico and chimney, alter the roof, replace windows and regrade the side yard.

Architect: Frank J. Quatela Architect P.C.

While the expansion of this house is modest and appropriate, there are several details of this proposal which require further examination. First, moving the entry to face Center Drive is not problematic, but the proposed splayed staircase appears grandiose and alien to the simple nature of this house—a straight stair would relate better to the existing architecture.

There are railings proposed for the new balcony on the addition and along the proposed retaining wall, which introduces another foreign element that does not previously exist within this composition. These railings should be simplified or eliminated. A parapet treatment at the balcony would better serve this house’s aesthetic, and the retaining wall’s lot coverage calls undue attention to itself.

Finally, there is evidence that the stair originally faced Center Drive, which is likely why there is a historic step in the curb on this street. Despite this step’s existence, introducing substantial paving across the lawn to the street seems like a path to nowhere. The proposed stair will connect to the driveway with paving that runs alongside the house, rendering this new path to the street futile.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications

Commissioners agreed with HDC’s points about the treatment of the stair and the railings. The application was approved with minor modifications, including eliminating the flair of the staircase and restudying the railing details. Additionally, Commissioners felt strongly that the materials of the soffit and rafter tails be constructed in a natural material, and directed staff to work closely with the applicant on the texture of the stucco.


Item X (Read into the record, to be presented at a future public hearing.)

1370 Dean Street – Crown Heights North Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #193374

A Queen Anne style semi‐attached house designed by Gilbert A. Schellenger and built c. 1885. Application is to replace the stoop and install a barrier‐free access lift and areaway paving.

Architect: Greybar Architecture PLLC

This proposal seems speculative in nature, with building code driving the ADA access currently proposed. Providing access is likely not necessary at this juncture. HDC does not support this application, which is a significant alteration of not only the stoop but the building’s façade and proportion. We encourage the exploration of, and guidance from, the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities to obtain a New York City Building Code Accessibility Waiver. These waivers are frequently granted to small scale projects involving properties in historic districts.

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