The City Council's expected overturning of the landmark designation of a 1912 church building might mark a return to the bad old days... of Queens landmarks getting demolished. Those are the memories the Daily News is conjuring up in its story on the Grace Episcopal Church's Memorial Hall in Jamaica, which the Landmarks Preservation Commission blessed in October. Despite sending letters to the parish and meeting with church leaders, the LPC never heard from the church's pastor about whether or not Grace Episcopal was for or against landmarking. The LPC voted to designate the building a landmark in October, and only then did the church start complaining about the financial burdens of repairing and maintaining a landmarked structure.
The local councilman is leading the anti-landmarking charge, and he calls this a "teachable moment for how we do landmarks," meaning that the LPC should directly engage with property owners before a vote (even though it appears that was done in this case). The full City Council typically votes along with the local rep, so this looks like a fait accompli. Preservationists fear that this might set a dangerous precedent and make the LPC wary of designating more landmarks in Queens. If they can find any, that is.
· City Council vote may hurt future attempts to create landmarks in Queens [NYDN]
· Queens One Landmark Down After Council Committee Vote [Curbed]