Grand Central Terminal

Landmarks of Change

In preparation for the 09.09.15 hearing on Intro. 775, AIANY and the four other AIA chapters in NYC distributed a response memo to City Council members last week. Intro. 775 would establish a maximum period of time for the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) to take action on any item calendared for consideration of landmark status. The bill was created to address the issues of transparency and consistency at LPC, but it also establishes a moratorium on designations for projects that fail to meet the tight deadlines, which could threaten the effectiveness of LPC.

The bill would require LPC to hold public hearings on individual landmarks within 180 days of calendaring, and to take final action within 180 days of the hearing. For historic districts, LPC would have to hold a hearing within one year and make a determination within that the following year. The bill would also require LPC to make a determination on items that are currently on the calendar within 18 months of the law’s effective date. If LPC disapproves or fails to designate any item within the given timelines, the property could not be reconsidered for landmark status for a period of 5 years.

AIANY applauds the bill’s intentions to seek procedural changes to make the designation processes more efficient and predictable, but, as written, the bill will compromise New York City’s Landmarks Law. In the memo, we provided recommendations to the proposed legislation, including exceptions to the timeframes, allowing LPC to set its own benchmarks, and the creation of staff-level review for simpler projects.

Read the entire memo here.

  • Pulse PointsThe NYC Department of City Planning (DCP) released the draft zoning text amendment for the Zoning for Quality and Affordability proposal. DCP is collecting comments and questions on the draft before public review begins. Familiarize yourself with the draft text and learn more about the proposal here.
  • In response to threats of ripping up the currently-under-construction pedestrian plaza in Times Square, and possibly other plazas along with it, the Design Trust for Public Space and the Municipal Art Society are circulating petitions in an effort to prevent this from happening.
  • On 08.27.15, Mayor de Blasio and leaders from Lower Manhattan announced a new $100 million commitment to protect Lower Manhattan from flooding. Read the press release here.
  • Innovative designs for sidewalk sheds take center stage. In a city under constant construction, architects are reconsidering how to protect pedestrians and make the sidewalk experience more enjoyable. Read more about it here.
  • The NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) announced its new paperless design review process, BLDS eSubmit. As part of the de Blasio Administration’s Housing New York Plan, the electronic submission and review process will speed up the development of affordable housing.