The Real Deal New York

Manhattan beep unveils plan to speed up landmarks process

Proposal sets 90-day limit on responses to applications
By Konrad Putzier | April 08, 2015 06:17PM

Manhattan borough president Gale Brewer unveiled a plan Wednesday to speed up and simplify the landmark review process.

The legislation, to be co-introduced with council members Dan Garodnick, Brad Lander and Stephen Levin, calls for a public web database of all actions by the Landmarks Preservation Commission and would allow online applications for landmark status.

The proposed laws would also put a lid on the length of the application process. It calls for a 90-day limit for responses to applications for landmark status and a 180-day limit for historic districts applications. Moreover, unresolved landmark cases could no longer be shelved for more than five years.

While the proposed changes could help simplify the famously onerous landmark process, they are unlikely to satisfy developers’ demands. Real estate executives have long complained about the growing number of historic districts and landmarked buildings, a phenomenon they argue impedes the creation of affordable housing.

Gale Brewer has long been a champion of landmarks reform, although her proposals have rarely made developers happy. Last year, she proposed that the LPC automatically consider every building slated for demolition for landmark status.