LPC seeks fee increase

Current fee structure created in 2004. On August 4, 2009, Landmarks held a hearing on a proposed fee increase for new building and alteration applications. The rule was published in the City Record on July 2, 2009.

The proposed rule would increase Landmarks’ fee for new one-, two-, and three-family dwellings from six to ten cents per square foot. For all other buildings, the proposed rule would increase the fee from thirteen to twenty cents per square foot, but not less than $100 per structure.

A $50 flat fee for building alterations costing up to $25,000 would remain unchanged. Landmarks would increase an incremental fee for each additional $1,000 spent above $25,000 from three to four dollars. As examples, the fee for a proposed $15,000 storefront alteration would be $50, while the fee for a proposed $300,000 three-story addition would rise from $875 to $1,150.

According to Chair Robert B. Tierney, the fee increase was necessary so that Landmarks could continue to perform its statutory duties “above and beyond what is expected.” He said that only alterations and construction requiring permits from the Department of Buildings would be subject to the fees, noting that there was no fee for projects such as brownstone repair, painting, and changing windows. Tierney stated that only 55 percent of the projects that typically come before Landmarks require Buildings’ permits and more than half of those projects were charged $100 or less.

Nadezhda Williams of the Historic Districts Council stated that the Council opposed the fee increase “on principle,” and that now is not the time to make caring for historic structures more expensive. Williams acknowledged that Landmarks needed the fees to maintain its budget, but she recommended that exemptions be made for charities and that Landmarks increase the fees for applications that request exceptions and tend to require the most staff time, such as legalizations and special permits.

In response to a question from Commissioner Christopher Moore, Tierney stated that the application fees, which are payable to the Department of Buildings, go into the City’s general fund and not directly to Landmarks. However, Tierney said the fees “indirectly” go to Landmarks because the fee assessments strengthened Landmarks’ position in budget allocations.

Landmarks is expected to vote on the proposal in early Fall.

LPC: Agency Rule Making, Citywide (Aug. 4, 2009).

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