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MAS Testifies at City Council Hearing on Proposed Changes to Landmarks Law

new york city council hearing

MAS and over 50 representatives of the preservation community turned out in force Wednesday morning to oppose the City Council committees’ proposed problematic changes to the Landmarks Law.

The multitude of the 11 proposed bills deal with issues of transparency, timelines for processing requests and the creation of a mandatory survey department, among others. Many would agree that the Landmarks Commission, like many city agencies could function more efficiently and transparently, however MAS believes the best way to make this happen is through discussion with a variety of stakeholders including LPC, to identify specific issues and develop explicit solutions. We want to ensure that any proposed solutions are not worse than the problems the proposed bills are intended to address.

MAS, along with the New York Landmarks Conservancy, the Historic Districts Council, Friends of the Upper East Side, Landmarks West and many other advocacy groups expressed dismay at having such short notice of the joint Committee on Land Use and Housing and Building’s hearing- many groups learning of the hearing only last week. MAS stated that “It is impossible to thoughtfully evaluate so many intros of such great magnitude in just the few days allotted before this hearing… We believe that these proposals require additional study by all stakeholders.”

Most advocacy groups addressed two bills specifically that could undermine the effectiveness of the Landmarks Commission. One would require City Planning to analyze the potential economic impacts of designation as part of the designation process. The other dealt with permitting in-kind materials which would continually grandfather the inappropriate or unattractive conditions of a historic building.

MAS offered to meet with the Council members and we look forward to working with the City, the preservation community and others to work through these issues towards a constructive outcome. To read MAS’ position on the proposed bills, click here.