On Friday, April 13, 2018, FRIENDS of the Upper East Side Historic Districts, along with the City Club, Brooklyn Heights Association, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, the Historic Districts Council, LANDMARK WEST!, the Municipal Art Society of New York, the New York Landmarks Conservancy, and the Society for the Architecture of the City –with support from elected officials — submitted a joint letter to the Landmarks Preservation Commission urging the agency to reject the Commission’s proposed Rules Amendments.
Supplementing the nuanced positions of each organization, and the dozens of individuals and groups that testified about the rules at a public hearing on March 27th, the nine groups joined forces to underscore five of the key shortcomings in the proposed rules. Chief among these concerns are the diminution of the public’s role in review of projects, the increased ability to use substitute and faux materials, greater allowance of larger and more visible building additions, as well as troubling language which introduces vague administrative terminology to the process. The joint statement has been covered in Curbed and Brownstoner, and the full text may be read HERE.
This letter comes in the midst of a lengthy public review process which has included several stakeholder information sessions and a Public Hearing on March 27, 2018 at which FRIENDS provided testimony critiquing portions of the proposed rules, and suggested several areas in need of improvement. Our full testimony is available HERE.
FRIENDS understands that the Rules are a critical document guiding the agency. But we join our colleagues in the position that the current proposed rules will not sufficiently safeguard our city’s unique and deeply significant historic building stock. Any lesser standard of preservation than the absolute highest undermines our city’s pioneering Landmarks Law.
As reported last week in Crain’s, the New York Times, and Curbed, Meenakshi Srinivasan, the Chair of the Landmarks Preservation Commission will resign as of June 1, 2018. With this impending change in leadership, it is now more important than ever for members of the public to make their voices heard. The comment period has been extended until May 8th so the public has two more weeks to urge the LPC to reconsider the proposed rules.