From Queens Courier:
Many questions — no answers
I have written over 40 letters to my representatives and government officials, received five responses but no answers to my questions; what irreplaceable structure, timeless artifact, priceless home, ageless monument, cultural or historical imperative demands the expropriation of 1,300 homes in the name of “historic preservation”?
Why isn’t zoning sufficient to preserve the important elements of our community, the “sense of place,” the open space and building size?
Are the zoning laws ineffective due to lack of enforcement? Lack of oversight?
Why weren’t alternative zoning solutions examined and tried before expropriating property rights? It is intellectually dishonest to claim that “McMansions” are a result of the absence of landmark designation.
Instead of offering leadership and possible solutions, the few who responded asserted that it is constitutional for an unelected bureaucracy to expropriate my property and for me to be deprived of a vote on the matter. They assured me however, I still have the right to voice my opinion at a “public hearing.”
Landmark designation offers no benefits to the homeowner other than an inflated sense of self-net worth. Proponents claim property values will go up but the direct beneficiary of the higher tax rates on higher valuations is the city government; not to mention sweetheart deals with consultants, contractors, building supply providers, architects, urban planners, etc. The homeowner is left with higher tax bills, forms, fees, surcharges and higher prices for approved materials.
In addition, it is easier and more profitable to fine homeowners using the wrong color paint than to find and prosecute building code violators.
(A response from Councilman Avella from the Queens Ledger: Clarifying the Constitution)
Letter to the Times Ledger: Why landmarking threatens
The Queens Tribune on a controversial house in Douglaston Hill:
After Major Renovations: Home Still Deemed Historic Enough
A Times Ledger story about the Sunnyside saga:
Landmark battle intensifies
A pro-landmarking story from the Tribune:
Preserving For The Ages: Advocates Hope That History Isn’t Only Found In Scrapbooks
A pro-landmarking editorial from the Tribune:
Protect Our Past
And a pro-landmarking letter to the editor from the Brooklyn Star:
Rethinking McCarren Pool's Landmark Status
Whew! That's a lot of stories...