Nearly 100 Sites Saved from the Chopping Block!
As we announced earlier this week, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) was poised to “de-calendar” nearly 100 buildings under consideration for landmark status in one fell swoop on Tuesday, December 9th.
One of the properties on their list is an 1861, wooden house on East 85th Street that students in our Yorkville Immigration program visit on their neighborhood walking tour. It has been lovingly restored by its owners, who welcome the prospect of landmark status and the protection it offers. Council Member Ben Kallos has also lent his support for the designation. With such an outstanding example in our own neighborhood, it was indeed troubling to think about what other sites could be candidates for removal from consideration.
After significant lobbying on the part of preservation groups and elected officials from all over the city, including FRIENDS, the LPC has decided to abandon this ill-conceived plan.
Thanks to our fellow advocates, elected officials, and concerned citizens who rallied together on this important issue!! Thanks also to the LPC for listening!
Read more about it in the New York Times:
Landmarks Panel Drops Proposal to Trim List
By MATT A.V. CHABAN
DEC. 4, 2014
Facing opposition from local politicians and advocacy groups, New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission has withdrawn its proposal to remove more than 100 buildings and structures from its oversight.
On the eve of Thanksgiving, the commission released a list of 94 individual properties and two historic districts scattered across the city that it would remove from its calendar.
“Calendaring” a property is the first step in the process to designate landmarks, through which the commission deems a property worthy of consideration. This is followed by research, hearings and a vote. But a calendared property cannot be altered without the commission’s approval.
All of the properties had been on the calendar at least five years without any action, and 80 had been there for at least two decades. The action was meant to clear the commission’s backlog so it could focus on new priorities. The development community had been lobbying for this for some time. The commission had planned a formal vote on the proposal on Tuesday.
But preservationists denounced the proposal to remove the properties as hurried and lacking transparency. Among the properties that would have been affected were the Pepsi sign in Long Island City, Queens; Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn; the Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan; and five Broadway theaters. Part of the justification for removing many of the properties is that they already have other forms of protection, said Meenakshi Srinivasan, the commission’s chairwoman.
In withdrawing the proposal, she said she wanted to provide more time for people to speak up for certain properties while making clear all would be dealt with sooner rather than later.
“We remain committed to making the Landmarks Commission more effective and responsive in its work, and clearing a backlog of items,” Ms. Srinivasan said in a statement.
Preservationists were relieved by her decision.
“This is the rare case of a public agency listening to the public,” Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council, said.