A street construction blunder in a landmarked area of Douglaston spurred a local lawmaker to call for legislation that would prevent such costly mistakes from happening again.
The Department of Design and Construction (DDC), while upgrading infrastructure in the Douglaston Manor Historic District, recently replaced a pedestrian ramp at the intersection of Grosvenor Street and Douglas Road.
The concrete ramp would have been fine in most neighborhoods, but according to City Councilman Paul Vallone, the DDC didn’t realize that historic district rules in place at Douglaston Manor required that the ramp be replaced with material matching the ramp’s original construction.
Vallone said the DDC must now demolish the new steel-reinforced curb and sidewalk and replace it with granite block curbing and concrete, as required under Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) regulations for the Douglaston Manor district.
After a meeting with the Douglaston Manor Association about the mishap, Vallone proposed two pieces of legislation that would help ensure the integrity of landmark status properties in the future.
Vallone’s first bill would require the LPC to notify city agencies when an area or property is named a historic district or landmark. The second bill would require any city agencies planning work impacting landmark status properties to coordinate with LPC and send notice to local community boards, City Council members and landmarked property owners.
“The city must preserve the character of neighborhoods throughout construction projects. What good is a landmark designation or historic district if a simple oversight can quickly erase what has been fought to be protected?” Vallone said. “It’s unfortunate that additional resources now have to be spent to correct this mistake. Communication is critical in ensuring that we can protect our landmarks and my legislation will go a long way to preventing an error like this from happening in the future.”