As you may know, the Citizens Emergency Committee to Preserve Preservation has been focused on bringing more transparency, independence and resources to the Landmarks Preservation Commission for more than four years. Recently, Council Member Brad Lander (the new Chair of the Landmarks Committee) spoke at the Historic District Council’s Annual Preservation Conference and specifically mentioned the need to look closely at the transparency of this agency. We couldn’t agree more.
Given the 45th Anniversary of our City’s Landmarks Law, we thought it was a good time to look at the law with fresh eyes and propose a few common sense changes that could make LPC more open, responsive and, yes, transparent.
Take a look at our 3-point proposal and give us your feedback. Leave your comments below or click on the link below (http://www.scribd.com/doc/27532130/CECPP-Modest-Proposal-Final-Draft-2-22-10-1) to download the file.
We are eager to hear what you think.
YOUR OPINION PLEASE . . .
A Modest Proposal
Please share your opinions and suggestions on the following ideas to improve the landmarking procedures of the City of New York in order to achieve prompt and timely preservation of eligible landmark buildings and historic districts by the Landmarks Preservation Commission before they are destroyed:
1. Petition Procedure. In addition to existing RFE procedures, should New York City enact a separate “Petition for Hearing” (PFH) procedure under which a person or organization may file with the Landmarks Preservation Commission a detailed Petition similar to the nomination form for the National Register of Historic Places in order to initiate the designation process? Each filed PFH would then be required to be brought before the Commission at a public meeting within 60 days. If a majority of the Commission votes to accept the Petition for further study, the staff would be required to prepare a study report on the significance of the property and submit the report to the Commission within 90 days. A formal Designation Hearing would then be held by the Commission within the next 60 days to vote on landmark designation for the property.
2. Suspend Demolition Permits. To prevent repetition of experiences like the Dakota Stables, where the property owner demolished the historic facade of a proposed landmark before the Commission held its designation hearing, would you favor a process whereby, upon the filing of a completed Petition for Hearing (see Point 1) with the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the petitioner would File a Certified Copy of the PFH with the Department of Buildings? Upon the filing, the Department of Buildings would be prohibited from issuing any permit for alteration or demolition of the property (or any property within a PFH proposed historic district) until the Landmarks Preservation Commission acted on the Petition, and if the Landmarks Preservation Commission ordered a study report, the prohibition would remain in place until the Commission voted on landmark designation for the property.
3. Commissioner Appointment. To ensure the quality and independence of Landmark Commissioners, would you favor requiring the Mayor to select his appointments to the Landmarks Commission from a list of candidates submitted by the Fine Arts Federation, similar to the current procedure in the City Charter (Chapter 37, Sec. 851 b) for selecting the non-ex officio members of the NYC Design Commission?
Survey conducted by Citizens Emergency Committee to Preserve Preservation, a non-profit advocacy organization working for positive change in NYC’s landmark preservation process. Visit us at www.savelpc.org.