Landmark status: privilege or burden?

Residents bristle at possible Douglaston Historic District expansion
October 06, 2015 09:32AM

Residents of Douglaston, Queens are up in arms over possibility their neighborhood could become a city landmark, fearing lower property values and a loss of control over their homes.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission will consider a proposal this week to extend the Douglaston Historic District, part of an effort to clear a 95-item backlog at the agency.

Locals are pushing back, arguing that their rights to their property is more important than the historic preservation in the area.

“They all tell me, ‘Yeah, Rog, but what about when you’re dead?’ and I tell them, ‘Maybe you’ll die first and won’t have to worry about it,’” Roger White, a Douglaston resident, told the New York Times.

This isn’t White’s first brush with city bureaucracy. He and his family fought for decades to stop an effort to condemn his home as part of the extension of 39th Avenue.

“For 30-odd years, the city wanted to tear down our house,” Mr. White said last week. “Now they want to turn it into a shrine. It’s unbelievable.”

The district was assigned landmark status in 1997. It encompasses 60 homes surrounding the prewar planned community known as Douglaston Manor. Landmarks is looking to add 17 more homes, a church and an elementary school to the District, mostly built between the 1850s and the 1910s. [NYT]Ariel Stulberg