Why this Blog Exists

To make the case for expanding the Park Slope Historic District

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Joint Press Release from CMs Lander & Levin

Today the Landmarks Preservation Commission took the first formal step in the process of expanding the Park Slope Historic District by "calendaring" a public hearing on the proposed expansion. The boundaries of the historic district have not changed since the original district was designated on July 17, 1973.

Council Members Brad Lander (39th district) and Stephen Levin (33rd district), who represent Park Slope in City Hall, issued the following joint press release today to mark this important step. Thanks guys!

August 10, 2010

Thanks to the hard work of Park Slope residents, the Park Slope Civic Council, and local elected officials, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission voted earlier today to put a public hearing on the calendar (date to be determined) to seriously consider the expansion of the Park Slope Historic District. The proposed expansion would add the blocks between Seventh and Eight Avenues, from Seventh Street through 14th Street , as well as areas adjacent to Bartel Pritchard Square (the full proposed boundaries are available on the LPC website).

Park Slope’s City Councilmember Brad Lander chairs the City Council’s Land Use Subcommittee on Landmarks. Both he and City Councilmember Steve Levin (33rd district, which also includes Park Slope) were thrilled about the decision and will notify the community as soon as they know the date of the hearing.

The current Park Slope Historic District was created in the 1970s, and includes most of the brownstone blocks on Eighth Avenue and Prospect Park West, and additional blocks in Northern Park Slope.

Area residents, led by the Park Slope Civic Council, began organizing for this expansion in the spring of 2007, out of concern that too much new development was undermining the distinctive architectural character of the community, and placing treasured buildings at risk. The Civic Council organized a postcard campaign and several public meetings, in which hundreds of residents expressed their support. The LPC then conducted field surveys, and held their own public meeting in the community in June, which was attended by several hundred local residents.

Peter Bray, the Chair of the Park Slope Civic Council’s Historic District Committee, which was the organizing force behind this expansion, said “the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s action is an important step towards the Park Slope Civic Council’s goal of preserving Park Slope and particularly its character that attracts people to live, work and shop here. We value this character precisely because it is not like everywhere else. Park Slope is blessed with history, great architecture, and a human scale. Without landmarking, Park Slope is vulnerable to the cookie-cutter development that has made other city neighborhoods unrecognizable to their residents. We are looking forward to working with the Commission and our elected officials on future expansion phases beyond this South Slope expansion.”

Councilmembers Brad Lander and Stephen Levin who represent Park Slope, thanked the Landmarks Preservation Commission for their hours of field work and the Park Slope Civic Council for organizing the expansion effort.

Councilmember Lander said, “Park Slope is a truly great neighborhood, and expanding the historic district will help make sure it stays that way. I thank the Landmarks Preservation Commission for voting to calendar a public hearing on the expansion, and commend the Park Slope Civic Council for their hard work and effective organizing over the past several years. While a historic district asks for a little bit more of building owners, it helps make sure the neighborhood retains the architectural character that helps make it a great place. I look forward to supporting this and future efforts to strengthen preservation in Park Slope.” Lander chairs the City Council’s Land Use Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting, and Maritime Uses, which would ultimately hear and vote on the expansion, if it is approved by the LPC after the public hearing.

Councilmember Levin said, “I have been working closely with the Landmarks Preservation Commission, Councilmember Lander, and the Park Slope Civic Council to expand the Landmark Historic District in Park Slope. The expansion of the Historic District, as the PSCC has demonstrated, will be beneficial for both residents and retailers in the proposed area. The Historic District will protect the very core of what makes Park Slope a great place to live, visit, shop in, and enjoy. Landmark designations also help to increase property value for homeowners in the area. Not only has the PSCC been mindful of all parties that would potentially be effected by landmarking, they have shown the willingness to cooperate and compromise with those groups in the future. I have always supported small businesses and understood that they could potentially have to take on a large burden when their property (whether rented or owned) is designated as a landmark. The PSCC has demonstrated awareness of those burdens and has expressed the desire and readiness to incorporate flexibility within landmarking regulations for small business.”

The Landmarks Preservation Commission will now move forward to set a date for the public hearing on the expansion. After the hearing, the LPC will vote on whether to approve the expansion. If approved by the LPC, the expansion would then be considered by the City Planning Commission and the City Council.

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