Disappointing But Not Unexpected

In a last minute reshuffle, the Stated Meeting of the City Council was quietly brought forward to the morning of June 8, 2016 from its originally scheduled date of Thursday, June 9.

In a vote of 40-10-1 Int 0775-2015-A passed. The ten Council Members who opposed this bill were our representatives: Helen Rosenthal and Mark Levine, along with Inez Barron, Margaret Chin, Daniel Dromm, Daniel Garodnick, Corey Johnson, Ben Kallos, Rosie Mendez and Stephen Levin.
We thank them for standing with their communities and the preservation community in recognizing this bill, as written, was not all it was meant to be. Please take a moment to thank your Council Member for their support.

WEPS testified in opposition at the public hearing, last year. When the bill revealed itself last week, we believed further changes should be made, prior to the Committee vote.
The changes we suggested to the Land Use Committee were, as CCM Greenfield was fond of saying, “common sense, good government”. We believed that owner concurrence did not have any place in the law for designation and that historic districts should be afforded the same possibility of time extension.

WEPS’ voice was one among many. Preservation colleagues and NYC residents wrote, called, discussed, rallied. There were other opinions, other changes requested and we understand negotiations had taken place from the time this text had broken until just prior to the vote.
Unfortunately, a satisfactory compromise for all could not be reached and 775-A went to vote as written.

This changes the LPC’s process of designation. For the first time ever, there will now be a finite time period under which the Commission has to act. Should they not act within that period, for whatever reason, sites or districts will be removed from their calendar.
For individual landmarks there will be a one year limit from calendaring to action-be that designation or denial of designation, with a possibility of a twelve month extension providing the owner consents.
For historic districts, the time limit is set at two years. No provision made for any extension.

There is some good news buried in here.
The five year moratorium was removed, due to the intense objections of all of us. Thanks to the elimination of that clause, the LPC can immediately re-calendar historic districts or individual landmarks.
This was not all that we had hoped for and worked toward but we will take that ray of light in an otherwise dim situation.

We understand there are several more bills in the works that focus on Landmarks. We will remain vigilant and keep you informed. Thank you to every member who reached out to the Council and shared your views.