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Photo via PropertyShark
Photo via PropertyShark
A Victorian home on 112th Street in Richmond Hill

Scores of spacious Victorian homes dot the Richmond Hill landscape, and there’s an effort underway to protect them under landmark status.

The Richmond Hill Historical Society (RHHS) has launched a petition through Change.org asking the public to support its work to create historic districts in the neighborhood. The RHHS is applying to have the Victorian homes in the neighborhood added to the National Register of Historic Places, and it will also ask the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) to create a historic district in the neighborhood.

“Historic designation is a win-win for Richmond Hill,” according to the RHHS petition. “By promoting an historic district, we strengthen community awareness of Richmond Hill’s place in history in the development of New York City. More importantly, establishment of such a district would celebrate and protect Richmond Hill so that future generations can marvel at its charm as we do today.”

Queens has several landmark districts in neighborhoods such as Jackson Heights, Ridgewood and Sunnyside Gardens. LPC regulations for landmark districts are designed to protect the integrity of each neighborhood’s character and limit the extent of exterior alterations.

A historic district for Richmond Hill, the petition notes, would bring many economic benefits including “a likely increase in property values, the attraction of new businesses to the community and an improved quality of life for all of our residents.”

Efforts to create a landmark district in Richmond Hill date back at least a decade. The RHHS website includes a proposed district map that covers much of the area generally bounded by 84th Avenue on the north, 109th Street on the west, Jamaica Avenue on the south and Lefferts Boulevard on the west.

According to the book “Images of America: Richmond Hill,” co-authored by historians Carl Ballenas and the late Nancy Cataldi, the neighborhood was one of New York City’s first planned communities featuring Queen Anne-style Victorian mansions with open porches on large lots with grassy lawns.

In recent years, however, many of these homes have been remodeled or torn down to make way for larger, multi-family dwellings.

Several local lawmakers support the RHHS’ preservation efforts, according to the petition, including City Councilman Eric Ulrich, State Senator Joe Addabbo and Assemblymen Andrew Hevesi and Mike Miller.

Click here for more information about the petition.

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