Landmarks Approves Rules to Improve Application Process for Upgrading Protected Properties

Landmarks Chair Sarah Carroll. Image Credit: LPC.

On July 11, 2023, Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) approved rules to expedite and simplify the application process for property owners seeking agency approval for certain upgrades to landmarked properties. The new rules will widen the scope of applications that staff can approve, eliminating the need for review by the full Commission at a public hearing.

The rules will allow staff to approve applications for various sustainability and resilience improvements to landmarks, such as solar panel installations and energy-efficient HVAC unit upgrades, to help the City advance new energy efficiency and climate resiliency codes and standards. Additionally, the rules will facilitate the application process for small business owners by providing alternatives to storefront requirements and also enable the installation of planting beds and bioswales in historic districts by requiring greened sidewalks and new and expanded tree pits.

These new provisions are the latest in a series of recent initiatives by Landmarks designed to support the City’s businesses and further the Commission’s commitment to fairness, transparency, and efficiency. These initiatives include Landmarks’ Business Express Service, a one-stop shop that simplifies the permit application process for business owners in landmark buildings.

The rules also support the Adams Administration’s “Get Stuff Built” program, which Mayor Eric Adams announced in December 2022 and outlines 111 initiatives to address housing affordability, support small businesses, and facilitate capital projects. With the July 11 vote, Landmarks has successfully completed every initiative laid out by the program. Previously completed initiatives include streamlining Landmarks’ rules for more efficient permitting, eliminating interagency handoffs, and creating new digital tools that help applicants. These measures ensure that our landmarks and historic districts continue to support the City’s economy and vitality. For more information about the “Get Stuff Built” initiative, click here.

Other new rules approved by the Commission include: further streamlining the application process for Expedited Certificates of No Effect by eliminating time limits on temporary “for sale” and “for lease” signs; updating the eligibility requirements for property owners applying for grants through the Historic Preservation Grant Program by aligning them with federal requirements for income and other criteria; and outlining the process by which a member of the public may request the agency consider a specific new rule, as well as authorizing the Commission’s Chair to review and respond to such requests.

Landmarks Chair Sarah Carroll stated, “With today’s vote, the Commission continues to fulfill its commitment to a stronger and more resilient New York City, finding new ways to serve our small business community, and partnering with building owners as we move towards a more sustainable New York. Landmark-designated buildings can and should be climate resilient and energy efficient, and these rules will make it easier for building owners to achieve this common goal.”

Executive Director of Get Stuff Built Robert Holbrook stated, “These new rules will improve the predictability of the building permitting process by establishing clear requirements and an efficient review process. Reducing the time for approval processes also reduces the costs for building owners to invest in their buildings and achieve our city-wide climate and stormwater management goals. By creating a streamlined review process for approving new storefronts, LPC is removing barriers to the creation of new businesses and speeding pathways to job opportunities. This is a great example of expediting the permitting review process without reducing the protection and preservation of New York City’s history and culture.”

By: Dylan Shusterman (Dylan is the CityLaw intern and a New York Law School student, Class of 2025.)

Source: LPC Approves New Rules Streamlining Agency Procedures to Support Key Business Initiatives and Climate Resiliency and Sustainability Updates, July 11, 2023.


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