Preservationists Blast City Council for ‘Anti-Landmarking’ Bill
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The demolition of 35 Cooper Square, May 2011
Preservationists, mount up.
The City Council is currently mulling over a bill that could have profound negative effects on the character of the city’s great architecture. “Intro 775,” as the legislation is called, essentially establishes “do or die” deadlines for landmark designations. Basically saying that, if certain timing parameters are not met, then historic sites are unworthy of landmark consideration for another five years (i.e. allowing demolition).
It’s easy to forecast how the real estate industry might manipulate this potential law to their gain. Developers obstructing the process to torpedo any chance of preservation.
GVSHP is blowing the whistle. The advocacy group estimates that, if this bill had passed with the original landmarks legislation in 1965, more than half the city’s landmarks would never have been designated.
Here is the summary of the bill:
This bill would impose a timeline on designation of landmarks, interior landmarks, scenic landmarks, and historic districts. For individual landmarks, the bill would require the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) to hold a public hearing within 180 days of calendaring the landmark for consideration, and to take final action within 180 days of the public hearing. For historic districts the time period would similarly be divided into two one year periods for public hearing and final action. Lastly, the bill would require LPC to make a determination on whether to designate items (both individual landmarks and historic districts) that are currently on the calendar within 18 months of the effective date of the local law. In all cases, if LPC disapproves or fails to designate any item, the property in question would be barred from reconsideration of landmark status for a period of 5 years.
And below is the letter sent by GVSHP and fellow preservationists to city council members.