In our never-ending quest to bring drama to all things bureaucratic, a trusted Curbed correspondent reports from the scene of yesterday's Landmark Preservation Commission hearing. After the jump, the full report, including the sentence, "REBNY is always good for a cheap laugh."
A Curbed correspondent reports:
What the article from the Times shows, among other things, is that Robin Pogrebin is a very good writer in order to get something useful and usable from yesterday's hearing. Her depiction of the LPC is on the money; they were pretty much dismissive of the bill on the process issues and, secondarily, on the resource issue (time & money). They didn't actually make a good case against it on the merits, and really didn't address the merits at all. REBNY is always good for a cheap laugh though.· LPC Free To Be? We'll See [Curbed]
Unfortunately, the only Council members who were there were Bill Perkins, Simcha Felder [who seemed distracted to put it generously], Tish James and Charles Barron. There was no pretense that a vote would be taken and it seemed like a pro-forma hearing at best. Perkins did a good job expressing his goals at sponsoring this legislation (as quoted in the article) and Tish asked some questions about the disparity of S/NR & local landmarks, but otherwise it was mostly a chance for everyone from Richmond Hill to Richmond Terrace to express their support, their frustration and their thoughts about the bill. There were some very smart comments made about how the bill's language might be improved, in order to better protect buildings on the Register from massive alteration or demolition, which is the avowed point of all this, but who knows if anything CAN happen as the time for this council to act is almost over.
On the plus side, people did take the opportunity to talk to a number of council members about the upcoming Austin Nichols hearing, which was good since (former Council member) Ken Fisher was skulking around City Hall and pigeon-holing council members with his lobbyist prevarications. The Jamaica Savings Bank vote has left a bad taste in some people's mouths, so the game is pretty clear but it's still going to be tight. If the building gets voted down, the odds for any new landmarks getting designated against owner opposition are pretty slim for the next four years.