The Landmarks Preservation Commission will hold a hearing next week to remove about 100 properties from consideration for landmark status, a process the commission said will “streamline” its work. But critics say that the city is taking action that could endanger several important historic sites without a public hearing. Landmarks West says:
“The effect will be to wipe the slate clean – that is, to erase nearly a hundred proposed landmarks and historic districts that have been extensively researched, documented, and formally heard by the Landmarks Preservation Commissioners over the years.”
A meeting (though not a full public hearing) about this will take place on December 9 starting at 9:30 a.m. on the 9th floor of 1 Centre Street.
When sites are nominated by the LPC or the community to be given landmark status, the staff researches their history and a public hearing is held. If no decision is made the property will still be considered “calendared,” a limbo status that can persist for years. It does offer some protection, however, because if the site is considered for demolition or reconstruction the LPC gets 40 days to consider them for landmark status.
Of the 96 sites being considered, 80 have been on the calendar for at least 20 years, according to the commission. Sites that get “decalendared” can be re-nominated by the community.
On the Upper West Side, two sites could be decalendared: the 110-year-old powerhouse on 11th avenue between 58th and 59th that we wrote about here, and St. Michael’s Episcopal Church on 99th. The powerhouse could be a gold mine for Con Ed, which owns it, if it’s sold to a developer. But preservationists say it’s too important historically to tear down. The full list of sites is here.
Landmarks West is urging people to take action: “Call the LPC (main number: (212) 669-7700) and email Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan at email@example.com to demand that she schedule public hearings on any de-calendering of proposed individual landmarks and proposed historic districts.”