From the Daily News:
Members of Grace Episcopal Church launched a campaign to persuade local members of the City Council to overturn the city Landmarks Preservation Commission's designation [of Grace's Memorial Hall] when it comes up for a Council vote next year.
But not a single church member attended the commission's public hearing earlier this year to oppose the plan. The church's Memorial Hall was officially landmarked on Oct. 26.
"We're going to fight the designation," said Grace Episcopal's leader, the Rev. Darryl James. "It siphons off potential funding for ways in which we can really continue to do the work of Jesus Christ."
The congregation's church and cemetery were landmarked in 1967 - and Grace Episcopal has felt the financial pinch of the designations ever since, he said.
When the congregation repaired a bluestone walkway to the church, the Landmarks Commission had to sign off on which materials could be used, he said.
But his congregation never told the commission they opposed the designation - and they didn't attend the February public hearing where four people spoke in favor. The commission also received letters of support from several elected officials.
James admitted the church was properly notified of the hearing and said Grace Episcopal was in the middle of various event preparations and the meeting somehow "just slipped through the cracks."
Now brown splotches, signaling roof damage, have begun to mar the ceiling of Grace's Memorial Hall. James said he doesn't know how his church can afford to fix the almost 100-year-old building's slate roof if the designation isn't reversed.
But he has found a friend in City Council member James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows). The Council can overturn a landmark designation.
"I'm going to be opposing it," Gennaro said. "More attention should be focused on the financial impacts of landmarking on nonprofit institutions."
Only 20 designations have been successfully reversed since the Landmarks Preservation Commission was formed in 1965, said agency spokeswoman Lisi de Bourbon. Eight were in Queens.
Not to worry, we can always put up signs that explain what used to be there and act like it's an acceptable alternative. This is Queens, after all.