After regulation overhaul, Landmarks Preservation Commission head announces resignation

Posted On Thu, April 19, 2018 By

Posted On Thu, April 19, 2018 By In Landmarks Preservation Commission, Policy

Photo via CityRealty

Earlier this year, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) unveiled a series of new proposed rules, which the group said would streamline the application process and improve transparency. But the regulation overhaul, as 6sqft recently reported, has caused concern among preservationist groups, who fear that more oversight by LPC staff but less time for public review won’t allow enough input for public opinion and limit the opportunity for testimony and comment on applications. Following a backlash from the rule change, it was announced today that LPC commissioner Meenakshi Srinivasan will step down from her post.

Srinivasan, whose last day will be June 1, said in a statement, “I am honored to have served as chair of the Landmarks Preservation Commission for the past four years and to have had the opportunity to serve the city for the past 28 years. I am proud of what we have accomplished–promoting equity, diversity, efficiency and transparency in all aspects of LPC’s work, and working with the administration to make preservation a critical part of the city’s planning process. I’ve been very fortunate to work in three agencies and chair two commissions involved with the city’s land use and built environment, and to have played a role in shaping this incredibly diverse and dynamic city. I would love to do more hands-on project-based work related to land use planning and zoning and will be transitioning to the private sector.”

Before she was appointed to her position at the LPC by Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2014, Srinivasan was chair of the Board of Standards and Appeals under the Bloomberg administration. According to LPC spokesperson Zodet Negrón, her resignation was not in response to any backlash, and she has been planning an exit for some time after 28 years in the public sector.

In recent months she faced growing opposition from preservation groups and activists calling for her resignation. Community boards Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer joined the effort to reverse the new rules, and Community Board 11 voted unanimously in favor of a resolution in oppoisition to the new rules at its April meeting. Other opposed organizations include the Municipal Art Society, Historic District Council, The City Club and the New York Landmarks Conservancy.

Upon the announcement of the chair’s resignation, Executive Director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation Andrew Berman said, “Now more than ever, the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission needs a leader who understands the value of preserving and protecting our city’s history, its heritage and culture, its sense of place and its livability. We have seen a disturbing drift in recent years, accelerated under the de Blasio Administration, in which preservation has been undervalued and the Landmarks Preservation Commission was more geared towards greasing the skids for developers than protecting what New Yorkers love about their city. The Chair’s resignation is an opportunity to get us back on the path towards truly valuing the special qualities which make our city so distinctive and wonderful, which includes preserving and protecting its history.”

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