Controversial ‘Anti-Landmarking Bill’ Gets Approval from City

Posted on: June 10th, 2016 at 5:10 am by

This image has been archived or removed.

The long-gone 135 Bowery, circa 2011

On Wednesday, the City Council voted to approve controversial legislation that some locals refer to as an “anti-landmarking bill.” As previously reported, “Intro. 775” establishes “do or die” deadlines for landmark designations. Meaning, if the Landmarks Preservation Commission doesn’t vote on proposed individual landmarks within one year (two years for districts), then the proposals are removed from the calendar.

Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation has been fighting the bill on the front lines since last fall, naturally. Its executive director, Andrew Berman, summed it up thusly in an email blast to supporters…

The bad news: By automatically deeming a building or district not landmarked if the LPC does not vote within one year on proposed individual landmarks and two years on proposed districts, the bill encourages powerful developers to delay and try to run out the clock, and discourages the Commission from considering or moving quickly to calendar (and provide preliminary protections for) complicated, controversial, or larger designation proposals. More than half the buildings designated by the LPC over the fifty one years of its existence took longer to designate than Intro. 775 would allow. Once the deadline for designation passes, the proposed historic building or site is automatically removed from the calendar, or consideration for landmark designation. While the LPC can reconsider the building or site for designation, the process of adding a building or district to the “calendar” must, under the law, take several days; during that time a developer can file for demolition permits which would pre-empt any subsequent attempt to landmark the site, thus ending the possibility of designation.

The good news: Following our turning out hundreds to the City Council public hearing on the measure last September and generating thousands of letters to City Councilmembers in opposition, the bill was amended to remove one of its most odious provisions – a five year ban on reconsidering any building or district for potential landmark designation if the deadline is not met. And eloquent and impassioned critiques of the bill were given by City Councilmember Corey Johnson, Rosie Mendez and Ben Kallos. Councilmembers Johnson, Mendez and Kallos have been working tirelessly with us to try to address preservationists’ concerns about the bill, and joined us for and helped organize Monday’s press conference about the bill. We owe them a great debt of gratitude.

Recent Stories

Sheldon Silver, Disgraced Assembly Speaker from LES, Dies at 77

Sheldon Silver, the disgraced powerhouse of the New York State Assembly, and native Lower East Sider, whose career was toppled by a 2015 corruption conviction, died yesterday. He was 77. According to the New York Times, Silver, who maintained a residence at Hillman Houses, had been imprisoned at Devens Federal Medical Center in Ayer, Massachusetts. […]

Cops: Robbers Entered Juice Press through Rivington Hotel Basement

Brazen robbers used the basement of the Hotel on Rivington to hit the Juice Press location next door, cops said. Police sources say that bandits entered the Hotel on Rivington shortly before 6:00am the morning of January 19. Gaining access to the basement, the perps then used the passageway to sneak into the adjacent Juice […]

Neighbors Rally to Help Longtime Printing Shop on Essex Street

A local letterpress printing shop – the last of its kind on the Lower East Side (nay, the city) – is on hard times, but one neighbor is determined to help Y.H. Printing. Desmond Yeoh emigrated to the from Malaysia in 1989. He and his wife opened Y.H. Printing seven years later on Orchard Street […]

Seward Park Cheerleading Squad Raises $30K for Nationals Competion

When the Seward Park High School cheerleading squad qualified for the nationals back in December, the school made history. The Lower East Side institution is reportedly the second public high school in Manhattan to ever qualify for the grand stage. However, the obstacle in their midst was budgetary. No cash for uniforms, travel, and lodging […]

City Readies Demolition of Delancey Foot Bridge to East River Park

With each new day, the destruction of East River Park intensifies. Little is now recognizable as dozens of trees were excised and the historic amphitheater demolished. All as part of the billion-dollar coastal resiliency project. Now, time has come for the pedestrian bridge linking Delancey Street to the park, above the FDR Drive. The city […]