Preservation Issues

Our Recommendations for the 2019 Charter Revision

UPDATE: March 28

Should the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) be required to have at least one member with a background in preservation? That was one question at an expert forum held by the 2019 Charter Revision Commission on March 25.

Yes! We testified that when the Landmarks Commission was created, preservation was a relatively new academic discipline. It’s established now. The Law requires that the Commission include a real estate expert, landscape architect and a historian, for instance. It’s time to add a professional preservationist to the mix. (read full testimony)

We had other suggestions: Landmarks Commissioners should be paid something for all the time required to serve. The Commission should remain an independent agency. It should not be enlarged through appointments by other City officials. LPC should have the power to insist that other agencies maintain City-owned landmarks in their care.

Erasmus Hall Academy in Brooklyn and Frederick Law Olmsted’s home on Staten Island are prime examples of important landmarks that suffered substantial deterioration under the neglect of agencies responsible for them.

Conservancy President Peg Breen joined former LPC Chairs Meenakshi Srinivasan and Robert Tierney, former Commissioner Margery Perlmutter, and Mark Silberman and Lisa Kersavage, LPC senior staff members on a panel. The Charter Revision Commission looked at a number of City agencies and current City Council powers and will have proposals on the ballot this November.


September 2018
Our Recommendations for the 2019 Charter Revision

-Set height limits for “voids” that artificially raise building heights. (like the yellow areas seen in the photo rendering)

-Establish a transparent pre-planning process for Community Boards to review proposed developments at the earliest stages of planning.

-Have the Landmarks Preservation Commission re-establish jurisdiction over City-owned landmarks and compel their upkeep.

-Require at least one Landmarks Commissioner to have a preservation background.

These are just some of the recommendations the Conservancy endorsed in testimony before the City Charter Revision Commission 2019, the second such commission looking at changes to how the City functions.

Several of our recommendations echo complaints from residents throughout the City concerned about loopholes in the Zoning Resolution that allow developers to construct out-of-scale buildings that threaten neighborhood character. We also want City agencies to reject other workarounds, such as gerrymandered and sculpted zoning lots, and buildings on stilts.

We urged that the Landmarks Preservation Commission remain an independent agency. And we asked that LPC Commissioners receive payment for their work and receive prompt reappointments. Now, nearly all of the Commissioners are serving on expired terms.

The Charter Revision Commission 2019 will review these and other recommendations, before forming ballot items for the November 2019 election.