The Landmarks Preservation Commission has come under fire from one of its staunchest defenders, Brooklyn City Councilman Brad Lander, who chairs the Council's landmarks subcommittee. He accuses the commission of repeatedly breaking its promise to launching a $5 million website designed to bring transparency to a process by which the commission selects landmarks.
The site would not only provide a comprehensive and easily accessible list of the city's 1,323 individual landmarks and 109 historic districts but also a clear catalog of what would-be landmarks have been submitted for consideration and where they stand in the review process.
"If you're a neighborhood group filing a request or a business owner who wants to know the fate of your building, there is no easy way to track that now from the LPC's website," Mr. Lander said. "Transparency is at the heart of good government, it's at the heart of a thriving democracy."
Mr. Lander said that when he first took over the landmarks subcommittee, he had a meeting with LPC chairman Robert Tierney. It was at that point that Mr. Lander suggested the agency come up with a better website and was told by Mr. Tierney that one was in the works and it was only months away from completion. When Mr. Tierney repeated that statement last week at a Council hearing on the agency's budget, Mr. Lander was ready for him.
"You've been telling us the same thing, that it was months away, going on three years now," Mr. Lander shot back.
Delays may well continue.
"Until we get a system that meets our standards, we're not going to implement it," Mr. Tierney responded. When asked if that might be before the Bloomberg administration leaves office at the end of the year, Mr. Tierney responded that he did not know.
"Because we're working through these complex issues, it's not as simple, perhaps, as we once thought it was, for whatever reason, and the complexities have produced these issues that we have," Mr. Tierney said.