1040 Park Avenue
Delano & Aldrich
Park Avenue Historic District
A Renaissance Revival style apartment building designed by Delano & Aldrich and built in 1923-24. Application is to establish a Master Plan governing the future installation of through-wall louvers.
LPC Hearing: 08/13/2019 (No Action)
LPC Meeting: 09/17/2019 (Approved)
The Board of Directors of FRIENDS of the Upper East Historic Districts is dismayed by the breach of process that has occurred in order for the application for 1040 Park Avenue to appear on the August 13, 2019 LPC Public Hearing calendar. Though the application may be minimally impactful, it is crucial to evaluate not the “what” in this case, but the “how.” It is concerning that the Landmarks Preservation Commission decided to proceed with the August 13th public hearing without the standard preliminary appearance by the applicant before the Landmarks Committee of Manhattan Community Board 8. We understand that due to the summer calendar, CB8 requested that the LPC lay over the item to enable its Landmarks Committee to hear the application at its September meeting and that this request was denied. We stand with the Community Board and ask that the Commission not vote on this item and to lay it over until after the September meetings of CB8’s Landmarks Committee and Full Board.
Process is critical to the fair and orderly operation of government and we would not wish for the bypass of Community Board review to become precedent for Certificate of Appropriateness applications, regardless of their content. We understand that the Commission is made up of dedicated volunteers, and that the agency maintains a full annual calendar. However, neighbors, Community Board members, and other interested parties, who are also often volunteering their time and consideration, rely on the full range of opportunities for public engagement in order to best safeguard the architectural integrity of our protected buildings.
The members of CB8’s Landmarks Committee serve as eyes and the ears in the neighborhood and have a varied and intimate knowledge of its significant landmark-protected architecture. Furthermore Community Board meetings citywide are a key arena where neighbors and concerned members of the public have the opportunity to see the specifics of an application and ask questions and offer feedback directly to the applicant prior to the LPC public hearing when a binding decision is made. FRIENDS feels that this lively and transparent public process must be protected. As such, we ask the LPC to lay this item over to the September 24th public hearing to enable the standard Community Board review process to take place.
FRIENDS wrote to the Commission last month to express our dismay in the breach of process that occurred in bypassing Community Board review so that this application could appear at the August 13, 2019 LPC Public Hearing.
The substantive and nuanced discussion among the Commissioners at that hearing underscores exactly why applications that will be reviewed at a public hearing would also benefit from the preliminary fine grain level of review that happens at the Community Board. In response to Commissioners’ comments, the revised and improved application introduces a greater degree of order and symmetry in the placement of through-wall A/C units, and proposes to infill the brick spandrels panels that will become redundant under this master plan.
However, the applicants did not appear at the September 9th Landmarks Committee meeting of Community Board 8, and thus our process concerns remain. Review by the Community Board is a critical step for public engagement of Certificate of Appropriateness applications, regardless of their scope. This process is central to the fair and orderly operation of the LPC as an agency and we would not wish for the bypass of Community Board review to become precedent. Neighbors, Community Board members, and other interested parties, who are also often volunteering their time and consideration, rely on the full range of opportunities for public engagement in order to best safeguard the architectural integrity of our protected buildings.
As the process was not upheld in review of this item, we recommend the LPC disapprove this application.