On Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed City Council bill Intro. 775-A. The bill imposes deadlines on the Landmarks Preservation Commission and gives additional power to property owners.
As reported in YIMBY’s mid-year landmarking update last Friday, the bill, now law, gives the commission a period of one year from calendaring to vote for individual landmarks, interior landmarks, and scenic landmarks. If action is not taken on a calendared item by the one-year mark, the item will be removed from the calendar. There is an option for a one-year extension, but only with the consent of the property owner. For historic districts, the period of consideration is limited to two years.
Additionally, any item on the commission’s calendar at the time the law takes effect would have to be dealt with in 18 months, or be removed from the calendar. Again, there is the option for a one-year extension, but only with the consent of the property owner.
Preservationists decried the bill as one that guts the landmarks law created in 1965. “This law effectively makes the designation powers of the LPC much more limited, while providing the agency with no additional resources to perform its complex work,” said the Historic Districts Council on Thursday. The organization represents over 500 smaller ones across the five boroughs.
On the other side, there is this statement from the Real Estate Board of New York. “We want to thank the New York City Council for adopting legislation that will create reasonable timelines for the process of designating new landmarks,” said REBY president John H. Banks, III. “We also want to thank the many civic, labor, clergy, and community leaders… and others who raised their voices to call for a smart and sensible way to help property owners know what to expect and make sure future backlogs are avoided.”
It’s hard to say just when the impact of this law will be felt, but it could easily lead to less preservation in New York City.