It's hard to say when the Landmarks Preservation Commission's official descent into hell began. It could have been with Tom Wolfe's screed about what a joke the agency is. Or it could have been the Times editorial about how what a joke it is. Today, some icing is placed atop the cake of LPC suckage with a long Times story dissecting it all and doing so by leading with Park Slope. Why the Slope? Because the Slope has been trying to get its Landmarks District extended since 2000. Now, one might have many arguments with the Slope from the nature of its privileged spawn to the SUV-sized strollers pushed down the streets by its stroller moms. Few people, however, would quibble with its architecture and the fact that the nabe's Historic District does need to be extended. Neither did the Judge that ruled on the lawsuit that Park Slopers filed who called the agency's inaction on the Slope "arbitrary and capricious" (which is how Judge's say 'fucked up") and ordered to make "timely decisions" on designation requests. Also, the just wrote that allowing proposals "to languish is to defeat the very purpose of the L.P.C. and invite the loss of irreplaceable landmarks." (Translation: "Burn!")
And it isn't pretty:
A six-month examination of the commission’s operations by The New York Times reveals an overtaxed agency that has taken years to act on some proposed designations, even as soaring development pressures put historic buildings at risk. Its decision-making is often opaque, and its record-keeping on landmark-designation requests is so spotty that staff members are uncertain how many it rejects in a given year. In dozens of interviews, residents who have proposed historic buildings or districts for consideration said they were often stonewalled by the commission, receiving formulaic responses or sometimes no response at all.
Chair Robert Tierney says he's proud of the agency's accomplishments and the Times comes back with:In fiscal year 2007, with one of the smallest budgets of any city agency, the commission designated 22 individual structures, 3 historic districts and 3 interiors as landmarks, for a total of 1,158 buildings — the most since 1990. But dozens of cases seem to vanish into a black hole, critics say.There are staffing issues, there are budget issues and just about every issue one can imagine. As for Park Slope's Landmark District, eh, who knows?
· An Opaque and Lengthy Road to Landmark Status [NYT]
· Why the Landmarks Commission Sucks, Per the NYT [Curbed]