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City Increases Funding for Landmarks Commission

prospect heights street housesResponding to the Municipal Art Society’s advocacy campaign, the City Council has increased the budget of the Landmarks Preservation Commission by $250,000 in Fiscal Year 2007. This increase will bolster historic preservation throughout New York City, allowing the commission to add much-needed staff and thus to increase both the rate of designation of landmarks and historic districts and the efficiency with which permits are processed. The MAS applauds the council, especially Council Members Jessica Lappin, Tony Avella and Diana Reyna, and the mayor for providing this additional funding. The MAS has been calling on the council and the administration to increase the commission’s budget. Our data show that the commission’s staff is overworked and overburdened, which results in a slowing pace for designations. And while the staff is incredibly efficient, if the number of permit applications keeps rising without increasing staff, we fear that property owners will get less prompt responses to their requests for permits, too. Council Members Jessica Lappin, Tony Avella and Diana Reyna originally put forward a proposal to increase the Landmarks Preservation Commission budget by $500,000. The MAS submitted testimony in favor of this proposal at a City Council hearing on June 8. Click here to read the testimony.