Queens lawmaker calls for special architectural districts

Neighborhoods' character would be protected without landmark status
February 08, 2016 05:50PM

Queens state Senator Tony Avella wants to create special architectural districts throughout the state, which would still protect neighborhoods from non-contextual buildings without requiring historic landmark status.

Avella will introduce a bill during the new legislative session that would allow residents to petition for their neighborhoods to be protected by their local zoning authority, the Queens TimesLedger reported. Residents would detail the special design characteristics of their neighborhood and then there would be a public hearing for approval.

“When it comes to protecting the aesthetic integrity of these beautiful neighborhoods throughout New York, every day that passes threatens the existence of these valued communities,” Avella said in a statement. “There needs to be another way through which residents can protect the character of their neighborhoods outside of being granted historical status, which in New York City the L.P.C. has been reluctant to do.”

The Broadway-Flushing neighborhood — part of Avella’s district — has gone before the Landmarks Preservation Commission many times over the last decade, but has yet to win designation due to the many architectural styles throughout it, the Times Ledger reported.

Special architectural districts are more about keeping a neighborhood in sync architecturally while historic districts focus more on preservation.

The city Department of Buildings or its equivalent agency would enforce a neighborhood’s design limits. [TimesLedger and Curbed]Dusica Sue Malesevic