Saturday, June 20, 2015

LPC has new procedure for reducing calendar backlog

From the Wall Street Journal:

Public hearings for each application are now to be held this fall, and final decisions on most of the historic properties are due by the end of next year.

“We have received considerable feedback regarding the backlog, and have formulated a plan that will ensure fairness and transparency, and allow significant public input,” Ms. Srinivasan said.

Many of the long-forgotten potential landmarks had continued to stir passions—by those who wanted them saved and others who didn’t—and the commission’s new backlog plan drew applause from both the real-estate industry and the preservation community.

“We will be there,” said Tara Kelly, executive director of the Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts, pressing for historic designation of a 19th- century wood-frame farm house at 412 E. 85th St.

The Real Estate Board of New York, an industry group that often has testified against what it has characterized as overbroad landmark proposals, said it welcomed the commission’s “efforts to provide greater clarity and increased transparency.”

After the initial uproar in December over the commission’s first backlog plan, Ms. Srinivasan delayed action. She set aside a three-month comment period, during which the commission received 200 comments. Most called for hearings on each landmark.

After the hearings, the commission plans to review the testimony given at the individual landmark hearings, draft designation reports and in most cases vote each item up or down.

A third option would be to issue a so-called no-action letter, removing an item from the commission’s calendar, but allow supporters to reapply in the future.

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