As New York’s Landmarks Law enters its sixth decade, the City Council wants to rewrite the rules governing historic properties.
Despite a contentious fight over a package of revisions that stalled last year, the Council is again proposing a half-dozen recommendations to simultaneously streamline and expand the landmarks process. This month, the Council expects to vote on a bill creating timelines for the approval process.
The Council’s decision has drawn consternation not only among preservationists but also from the Landmarks Preservation Commission itself. At a hearing last year, Meenakshi Srinivasan, the chairwoman of the commission, called a number of the proposed changes overreaching. Ms. Srinivasan declined to discuss new proposals before any legislation was introduced, but acknowledged in a statement that some of the proposals had merit.
Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito countered that the Council wanted to ensure the changes cannot be easily rolled back by future administrations.
“It’s something that’s overdue,” Ms. Mark-Viverito, a Democrat who represents Manhattan and the Bronx, said in a recent interview. “That’s why we’re trying to balance the needs of the preservation community with the development needs of our growing city.”
Hmmm...do we notice the landmarks in this town or the nutty out of scale overdevelopment more? I'd say the balance is tipped in the developers' favor at this point. Which is just the way the council likes it.