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August 19, 2015
by EmmaPattiz
Grand Central Terminal

In April, City Council members brought forward Intro. 775, a Local Law to amend the administrative code of the City of New York, establishing a maximum period of time for the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) to take action on items calendared for consideration of landmark status. The bill was created to address the issues of transparency and consistency at LPC, but it also establishes a moratorium on designations for projects that fail to meet the tight deadlines.

More specifically, Intro. 775 proposes that the commission hold a hearing to consider a calendared landmark item within 180 days. LPC then has 180 days following the hearing to designate the landmark. If the commission does not designate the landmark or fails to meet the deadlines, that item will be removed from the calendar and cannot be calendared again for five years.

For historic districts, the commission has one year to hold a public hearing, and one year to designate it. Again, if LPC cannot meet those deadlines or decides not to designate the district, the item cannot be heard again for five years.

For all landmarks and historic districts that are calendared but not designated by the effective date, the commission does have 18 months to disapprove or designate, but if it disapproves the designation or does not designate any such item within 18 months of the effective date, the item cannot be calendared again for five years from date.

AIANY agrees that the LPC is in need of procedural reforms to make processes more efficient and consistent, and we are sympathetic to some of the bill’s intentions; however, we have serious concerns that the moratorium removes discretion from the LPC, significantly and detrimentally hinders the commission from fulfilling its important mission, and will result in the loss of important historic buildings and urban fabric. AIANY is actively working with a variety of partners to constructively assist the City Council to consider alternatives to the bill that will ensure that NYC remains a unique urban realm that preserves the best of our built heritage while allowing bold, new developments to drive our future. At the same time, we are hopeful that the LPC, acting unilaterally and in conjunction with City Hall, will propose and adopt new rules and procedures in advance of the bill’s introduction, rendering the bill unnecessary.

We urge AIANY members to become familiar with this piece of legislation as it can leave lasting impacts on the quality of our built environment.

We believe the bill will enter into City Council committee hearing sometime late summer.

Pulse Points

  • NYC Department of Design + Construction announced that 26 Architectural and Engineering Design Requirement Contracts are being issued for Micro, Small, Medium, and Large firms to undertake public building projects citywide. The launch of Design and Construction Excellence 2.0 will be celebrated with a Pre-Proposal Conference on Thursday, 09.03.15 from 9:00am until 12:00pm at in the DDC’s 1st floor- Atrium at 30-30 Thomson Avenue, Long Island City.
  • NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the revised proposal by SOM to renovate the plaza at 28 Liberty and add subterranean retail space. AIANY testified at LPC in May, when the project was heard for the first time.
  • Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10) and the South Street Seaport Museum announced that the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded $10.4 million to the museum. The grant is part of federal efforts to assist in repairing damage caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Emma Pattiz is the AIANY Policy Coordinator. For more information on AIANY policy initiatives and programs, please contact her at epattiz@aiany.org.

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