April 30, 2015
Meenakshi Srinivasan, Chair
New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission
1 Centre Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10007
Dear Chair Srinivasan:
Regarding the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s upcoming plan to act on properties that have been calendared for public hearing for five years or more, Lower East Side Preservation Initiative supports the action plan formulated by the Historic Districts Council and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer to give each of the historic sites a fair hearing in an expeditious manner.
The Commission’s original plan to remove all these varied buildings from consideration at once, with no public input and with no consideration for their individual merits, simply to clear an administrative backlog, would be an inappropriate sidestepping of the Commission’s duty to evaluate the potential landmarks of New York City. Instead, the Commission should respect the time and effort that countless citizens spent in bringing these buildings forward for consideration, expecting, in good faith, that these buildings be given the same due process that other proposed landmarks have received. These buildings should be evaluated on their merits in public hearings as potential New York City landmarks with the same opportunity for open comment as buildings which were calendared more recently.
Because of the large number of buildings on this list, LESPI supports the plan suggested by HDC and the Manhattan Borough President for the buildings to be heard in geographically clustered groups. This will allow local advocates and stakeholders to speak about all the calendared buildings in their neighborhoods or Community Board districts while reasonably conserving the time it will take for all the buildings to be individually heard.
LESPI also respectfully urges the Commission to take reasonable steps to ensure that calendared buildings, from now on, are given their public hearings within a reasonable time to help prevent a backlog of calendared buildings from accumulating again.
We thank the Commission for its consideration in this matter.
cc: Richard D. Moses, Lower East Side Preservation Initiative