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Speed Up New York’s Landmarks Process
Everybody hates a deadline. But the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission seems to have a particular problem with them. It has allowed potential landmarks across the city to sit on its maybe-maybe-not list for years, sometimes decades, without deciding what to do with them.
With one of the smallest budgets and a tiny, nearly all-volunteer staff, the commission carries out an important job with deliberative diligence. It has improved under the efficient leadership of Meenakshi Srinivasan, who is getting new landmarks designated within months, not decades. But there is a backlog of nearly 100 properties, most of which have been in limbo for more than 20 years, some going back nearly 50 years. The landmarks process should never be rushed. But that is ridiculous.
A bill in the City Council introduced by David Greenfield of Brooklyn and Peter Koo of Queens seeks to impose sensible deadlines for hearings and a vote: one year for a building, two for a district of several buildings. More controversially, the bill decrees that a property rejected for preservation could not be considered again for five years.