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Despite Opposition, de Blasio Signs Bill That Will 'Gut' Landmarks Law

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The new law will set time limits on designating new NYC landmarks

Mayor Bill de Blasio has signed into law a City Council bill that places time limits on the public review process associated with creating new New York City landmarks. Despite receiving letters of objection from several preservation groups, the mayor decided to carry out the City Council’s decision, which had voted in favor of the bill 38-10, earlier this month.

The bill (now the law) has a host of detractors including the Historic Districts Council, the Municipal Art Society of New York, and the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, among others. Some of the pressing concerns include the fact that once a historic district has been selected for designation, it will have a two year period within which the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission will have to make a decision on it—this, preservationists say is too short of time.

Individual properties would have to be landmarked within a year, but have the possibility of a one-year extension. However, preservationists say, that can only be done with the owner’s consent. In a sense, the owner now has the power to veto the designation once the property is eyed for landmark status, which goes against many of the fundamental understandings of landmarked properties.

They’re also concerned that this change to a faster landmarking process will overburden the already burdened Landmarks Commission.