Preservationists seek to stop changes to landmarking process

LPC is seeking to make rule changes

West Village Historic District and LPC chair Meenakshi Srinivasan
West Village Historic District and LPC chair Meenakshi Srinivasan

Preservationists aren’t happy with a proposed rule change that would allow more applications to go through the Landmarks Preservation Commission without a public hearing.

Nine of the city’s largest preservation organizations filed a joint letter criticizing the proposal, saying it doesn’t allow for enough transparency in the landmarking process, Curbed reported.

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“Like environmentalists or dance enthusiasts, preservationists are not a monolithic mass. We agree on certain core principles but our individual focus is often nuanced and slightly different,” said Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council. “Upon reflection and discussion, the professional preservation groups came to a consensus that the amendments to the LPC rules were, when taken as a whole, unacceptable in their potential to damage the way the LPC regulates designated properties.”

The changes were floated in January, and the public has until May 8 to comment on the proposal, which would allow Landmarks staffers to review certain applications without going before the full board in a public hearing. The changes are intended to streamline the application process.

“We continue to engage with stakeholders during this ongoing process,” a Landmarks representative said. “Once the comment period is over, we will analyze and consider all comments received as this process moves forward.” [Curbed] — Kathryn Brenzel