Rally: This Monday, June 6th @ 11 am on the Steps of City Hall
Opposing Intro. 775-A, the Developer-Driven City Council Bill
that Threatens Landmarks-in-Waiting,
Makes Existing Problems with the Designation Process Worse
Some City Council members are pushing for the bill to be passed at the Land Use Committee meeting (without any public testimony) on Tuesday, June 7, at 9:30 am. The text of the bill was just released yesterday, June 2, and reveals little consideration of public concerns about how proposed changes to the NYC Landmarks Law would hamstring community efforts to protect the places that matter most.
Write to members of the City Council today to urge them not to support Intro. 775!
Our colleagues at the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation have set up a handy electronic form letter, available here.
Please contact your own Council member, too!
Intro. 775-A seeks to impose arbitrary timelines on the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s process for considering potential landmarks and historic districts.
Please consider making the following points in your message to Council members:
- Intro. 775-A would not improve the landmark designation process. In fact, by seeking to impose arbitrary timelines on the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s process for considering potential landmarks and historic districts, Intro. 775-A would make existing problems with the landmark designation process even worse.
- Intro. 775-A contains a “pocket veto” that would reward obstruction and defeat transparency. The removal of the five-year moratorium on re-calendaring items does not mitigate the destructive implications of these strict timelines because items that fall off the calendar by default are immediately vulnerable to demolition.
- Intro. 775-A imposes an unfunded mandate on the Landmarks Preservation Commission by increasing the work load of an already overstretched staff without increasing the resources of the Commission (the city’s smallest agency charged with regulating more than 33,000 structures across all five boroughs). By not providing the agency with any additional means to safeguard properties under consideration, Intro. 775 creates new obstacles to protection.
- Timelines will not speed the process of designation; rather they will discourage the Commission from considering extensive, complicated or controversial designations. These are often sites that need landmark protection the most.
- Intro. 775-A inserts into the landmarks law what amounts to an owner’s veto by including a provision requiring “written concurrence of the owner” for any extension of the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s consideration. The Landmarks Law has never required owner consent, for good reason – to protect the public interest.
The clear “winners” in this weakened process would be those who seek to block landmark designations (the Real Estate Board of NY, for example, which endorses this bill). Once again the public loses, par for the course as media reports and federal investigations of real estate deals involving developers, their lobbyists, political contributions, and the de Blasio administration continue to emerge.