More Time For Long-Delayed Plans
Amid an outcry from historians and preservationists across the city, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) postponed last Friday, Dec. 5, a plan to purge nearly 100 pending landmark applications, many of which have been inactive for decades.
The LPC was to consider at its Dec. 9 issuing letters of “no action” for scores of inactive landmark applications for sites such as Bushwick’s St. Barbara’s Church, Long Island City’s Pepsi-Cola waterfront sign and the Old Calvary Cemetery Gatehouse and the Douglaston Gardens Historic District extension.
After critics panned the proposed purge and the LPC’s failure to act on the delayed applications in a timely manner, LPC Chairperson Meenakshi Srinvasan announced last Friday the panel would put its own plans on ice for the time being.
“In response to community requests for more time, the commission has decided not to proceed on Dec. 9 and take a pause to continue to consider feedback on aspects of the proposal,” Srinvasan said in a statement posted on the LPC’s website. “We remain committed to making the Landmarks Commission more effective and responsive in its work, and to clear a backlog of items that have sat idle for decades so that we can focus on today’s preservation opportunities.”
“We’ve said plenty of times- nobody likes a backlog, and we are committed to working with LPC to remedy this situation in a transparent, appropriate and equitable way,” the Historic Districts Council, which advocates for preserving historic buildings across the city, said in an email last Friday. “This proposal has awoken needed public interest in the list of “notquite landmarks” and HDC will continue to document and publicize those buildings and sites under consideration and under request in an effort to bring needed attention to their preservation.”
Many of the 96 applications which the LPC originally marked for deletion were originally “calendared” by the commission decades earlier. As the LPC described, “calendaring is an administrative action that places a building or site on the commission’s calendar for a public hearing or discussion.”
The application to landmark St. Barbara’s Church-a Spanish Baroque-style church with twin, 175′-tall spires located at the corner of Central Avenue and Bleecker Street-was calendared in 1980. Plans to landmark the Pepsi-Cola sign-now located at Gantry State Park after adorning the nearby bottle plant prior to its 1999 demolition-made the LPC radar eight years later.
The local landmark application held in limbo the longest is the Old Calvary Cemetery Gate House, at the corner of Gale and Greenpoint avenues in Long Island City’s Blissville section, which was calendared by the LPC in 1973.