Paul's warped logic is this:
The Hawthorne Apartments deserved to be landmarked because they are architecturally significant, however, the Douglaston project has to go because the majority of homeowners in the proposed district are opposed to it. After all, "property rights" (aka selling your houses as teardowns) are paramount!
“There are times when land marking is improper as it imposes undue restrictions on the rights of homeowners to renovate, modify or even sell their properties as they wish,” said Council Member Vallone.There are a few problems here, though:
1) No one has seen the supposed petition by the affected homeowners cited in the release except Vallone, and these houses were included in the original 620 building Douglaston Historic District designated in 1997, but were arbitrarily removed by Mary Beth Betts at the LPC. However, they were promised to go forward at a later date without bias, meaning no property owner support was necessary whatsoever.
2) The owner of the Hawthorne Apartments was also opposed to landmarking, but Vallone supports its designation anyway:
In a common scenario, the principal owner of the property, Esther Levenbrown of Teaneck, N.J., is opposed to the designation. A letter sent to Community Board 11 from her attorney states that many of the units in the apartment complex are either rent-controlled or stabilized and that a designation by the Landmark Preservation Commission could cause costs related to the maintenance of the exterior to double. Marvin Mitzner, the attorney representing Levenbrown, wrote that Hawthorne Court is not particularly distinct among Braunstein’s other projects, many of which still exist in neighborhoods like Forest Hills.3) Vallone has totally ignored the Ahles House in Bayside and the First Reformed Church in College Point in his release, which are also on the decalendaring list and in his district.
Here is the complete release so you can sort through the many layers of B.S. for yourself.
Since most of the weeklies will just print segments of this press release without further analysis, I thought you might want to know the truth. This is what happens when your council member is backed by REBNY money.
Vallone's release was a bit premature (as well as immature), as the Landmarks Commission did an about face and has withdrawn its proposed decalendaring.