Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation
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Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation
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Dec 10, 2017

What's Wrong With the Landmarks Preservation Commission?

Recent approvals for new buildings by the LPC at (clockwise from upper r.)11 Jane Street, 145 Perry Street,and 60-74 Gansevoort Street have raised serious questions about the Commission’s judgement.

We’ve seen a slew of recent troubling decisions by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, calling into question to the Commission’s judgement and commitment to preserving our neighborhood’s architectural heritage and character.  Out-of-scale and out-of-character new developments have been given the green light on Jane, Perry, and Gansevoort Streets, in spite of overwhelming public opposition and, more importantly, sound arguments against these proposals.

So what’s wrong with the Landmarks Preservation Commission, and does landmarking even matter anymore?

In an op-ed in this week’s Villager newspaper, GVSHP's Executive Director takes a hard look at the issue, examining both recent decisions of the LPC and its long history in our neighborhood.

 

The simple answer: this isn’t the first time we have seen disappointing or confounding decisions by the LPC, and it probably won’t be the last.  And there have actually also been some very good decisions out of the LPC of late, which should be cause for celebration.

So is this all hype? 

Unfortunately no.  The ever-hotter real estate market means the LPC is seeing more and more applications in our neighborhood.  This means they have more opportunities to get it wrong, and a greater responsibility than ever to get it right.

There’s also no denying that this administration does not see preservation as a priority, and all too often sees it as the enemy.

But rather than give up hope, there’s a few important things we can do:

  • Realize that even in the worst case-scenarios, we move the needle and make a difference by getting involved in the process
     
  • Look at the full history of landmarks regulation in our neighborhood, and realize that some bad decisions are nothing new; we have to brush ourselves off and continue the fight
     
  • Take heart in the good decisions we fought for and got out of the LPC – whether new designations, denial of bad applications, or changes to proposals to make them better
     
  • Recognize that no matter what, landmark designation is better than no landmark designation, and still makes a difference

And finally, and perhaps most importantly: we’ve got to hold the Mayor accountable.

The Mayor appoints all the members of the Commission, and provides this city agency with direction.  If we’re unhappy with decisions the LPC is making, we’ve got to let the Mayor know, and let him know that the buck stops with him.



 


That’s why we’ve set up this easy system to allow you to tell the Mayor what you think about recent decisions by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, and how important it is that they preserve and protect the historic character of our neighborhood – write the Mayor here.


GVSHP has helped secure landmark designation of over 1,250 buildings in our neighborhood, and zoning restrictions for nearly 100 blocks.  We monitor every one of 6,500 building lots every day for demolition, new construction, and major alteration permit applications, so we take action when needed.  We connect tens of thousands of neighbors each year to the public review and approval process for changes to landmarked buildings in our neighborhood, so they can help impact the process.




 

The GVSHP Blog

Check out the latest posts from Off the Grid, featuring news, research, milestones, opinions and historic information about Greenwich Village, the East Village, and NoHo.

Take Action Today!

We need your help to take action in our communities! Preservation leadership is GVSHP's most important function. Visit our Advocacy page to see the full list of actions you can take today.



 

 

2‌32 E‌ast 1‌1 S‌treet, N‌ew Y‌ork, N‌Y 1‌0003
Phone 212.475.9585 | info@gvshp.org
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