A coordinated effort to neuter the power of New York's landmarks and preservation laws is underway, directed by an organization called the Responsible Landmarks Coalition, according to the Observer. The group argues that the power of the landmarking and preservation movement has swung too far in favor of hamstringing any changes to the city, increasing costs and costing New York economic opportunities. The Responsible Landmarks Coalition is a creation of the Real Estate Board of New York and includes real estate interests along with labor groups with stakes in the construction industry. The group is arguing for more transparency in the landmarking process, the consideration of economic arguments for development, and the limiting of historic districting to buildings that actually merit protection.
An early salvo in this fight was fired last month in early May, when 10 separate bills were introduced before the City Council, ostensibly to streamline the landmarking process. The Historic Districts Council warned at the time:
These bills are aimed at making the LPC ineffectual and providing faulty intellectual rationales for the Council to reject designations at the behest of developers.
· The War on Landmarks Moves o Defcon 2: Big Real Estate forming Big Coalition to Challenge Preservation [NYO]
· City Council About to Kneecap Landmars Preservation? [Curbed]
· Responsible Landmarks Coalition [official]
· Landmarks Preservation Commission [nyc.gov]
· Historic Districts Council [hdc.org]