Council Approved Bed-Stuy HD Expansion

Bedford Stuyvesant/Expanded Stuyvesant Heights Historic District. Image Credit: LPC.

Bedford-Stuyvesant/Expanded Stuyvesant Heights Historic District. Image Credit: LPC.

Council’s subcommittee heard numerous voices urging ratification of historic district expansion. At its stated meeting on August 22, 2013, the City Council voted unanimously to approve the Landmark designation of the Bedford-Stuyvesant/Expanded Stuyvesant Heights Historic District in Brooklyn. The designation covers approximately 825 buildings.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the expanded district in April of 2013, after a well-attended January hearing. The expansion drew strong support from area residents and preservationists. However, a few property owners and the pastor of St. Paul Community Baptist Church spoke in opposition. According to Landmarks’ designation report, the district is significant for its late 19th-century residential architecture, as well as some commercial and institutional structures. The district’s social history has the one of the best known African-American communities in the nation. The designation was the result of a decades-long process, which started with a 1992 survey of the area, with Landmarks hearings held in 1993 and 2011.

At the meeting of the City Council’s Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses on August 19, 2013, Landmarks’ Community Outreach Coordinator Michael Owen urged the council members to affirm the designation. According to Owen, Landmarks heard 26 speakers testify in favor of designation at its hearing, and received thirteen letters, 108 e-mails, and 146 postcards in support. Brooklyn Community Board 3’s Henry Butler said that the initiative for designation came solely from the community, and expressed the board’s “full support” for landmarking. The Community Board’s Evelyn Collier said that the designation “will be beneficial to the present and future generations of this community.”

Claudette Brady of the Bedford Stuyvesant Society for Historic Preservation, spoke of the importance of the district’s history and architecture to the people of the community. The Historic Districts Council’s Frampton Tolbert described the district as one of the City’s “richest and most remarkable collections of 19th-century rowhouses.” A representative of the New York Landmarks Conservancy also testified in support.

Council Member Albert Vann, who represents the area, supported the designation for reasons that he stated were “obvious,” and expressed pride in the community’s residents for their commitment and participation in the landmarking process.

The subcommittee voted unanimously to affirm Landmarks’ designation, without modification, and the Land Use Committee and full City Council followed suit.

Council: Bedford-Stuyvesant/Expanded Stuyvesant Heights Historic District (Aug. 22, 2013).

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