The Landmarks Preservation Commission is planning to “discard over one hundred heard items in an unprecedented massive ‘decalendaring,’” on Tuesday, December 9, according to a forwarded email we just received from Upper West Side preservationist group Landmark West. We don’t see anything about this in the official published LPC agenda for December 9, which concerns certificates of appropriateness for individual properties.
We’re not sure how Landmark West came by this information, or if it’s true. Which properties would be dumped is unknown.
“This does not bode well for Stuyvesant East, or Bedford for that matter,” wrote an architect and preservationist who passed along the email.
Typically, when the LPC decides to vote on whether or not to designate an individual landmark or historic district and sets a date to do so, after already having heard testimony on the matter, the district is designated. But the LPC has a large backlog of proposed historic sites it promised to vote on and never did, having not set a specific date. Many go back years.
The proper procedure would be to hold a public hearing and a vote for each proposed district individually, as promised, and to vote no, rather than to simply cancel the public hearings.
“Whose interests is the LPC serving by throwing out thousands of hours of professional work by commissioners, staff, national and local experts, community advocates, neighbors and residents? And why the lack of public notice?” asked Landmark West in the email.
Preservationists had expressed fears the LPC under de Blasio would be anti-landmarking, but the recent landmarking of the wood frame at 1090 Greene Avenue in Bushwick and the move to designate Chester Court seemed like promising signs to us. But now that we hear this, we fear for the proposed Bedford District, which has had no action since a hearing a year ago. It unquestionably contains some of the best and most important architecture in Bed Stuy, certainly equal or surpassing anything in the already designated Park Slope and Stuyvesant Heights areas. Pictured above is 240 Hancock Street in the proposed district, designed by noted architect Montrose Morris.
The email ends by saying “Call the LPC (main number: (212) 669-7700) and email Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan to demand that she fully disclose her plans and schedule public hearings on any decalendering of proposed individual landmarks and proposed historic districts. Tell her that you want to know what she is planning to ‘decalendar’ and when.”
Does anyone know more? We will update this story if we hear anything further.