Frequently Asked Questions

For more information, please feel free to contact Sarah Bean Apmann, Director of Research & Preservation, at sapmann@gvshp.org.

What types of applications does this website track?

If a building exists within a designated New York City historic district or is an individual New York City landmark, it is subject to the rules and regulations of the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC).  Thus if the owner of a landmarked site would like to make changes to his/her building, demolish the building, or construct a new building, he/she must apply for a permit from the LPC. The LPC regulates only exteriors, except in the case of a few select buildings that are specifically designated interior landmarks. Landmarks may also be scenic (i.e. parks). More information about types of landmarks can be found here.

The LPC receives thousands of applications each year, and most of them are minor enough that they can be processed by one of the LPC’s staff members without being shown to the public (these are known as “staff-level” permits). However, about 10% of all applications are for work that has the potential to affect significant protected architectural features. These applications must be shown to an 11-member Commission at a public hearing. The Commission is charged with deciding if the proposal is to be approved and, consequently, if a permit known as a Certificate of Appropriateness is to be granted. The public is welcome to testify at all public hearings.

The Village Preservation Landmarks Applications website tracks all applications that are required to go through this public hearing process.

The LPC has an informative and detailed explanation of the public hearing process on their website, which may be viewed here. A more lengthy description of the various types of LPC permits, including Certificates of Appropriateness, can be found here.

What is the process by which Village Preservation tracks these applications?

Once Village Preservation receives notice that an application has been added to the LPC’s public hearing agenda, we immediately post information about the proposal to the website. This information includes a photo of the building and a description of the application in addition to information about how members of the public can attend and testify at the LPC public hearing. Since all applicants are expected to show their proposals to the Community Board in advance of the LPC hearing, we also include detailed information about where the Community Board hearing will be held and how members of the public can attend. The public is welcome to speak at all Community Board hearings, and in most cases no advance formal sign-up is required. LPC public hearings are generally held during the business day on Tuesdays; Community Board hearings are held in the evenings, usually once a month.

After posting the initial details to the website, Village Preservation attends the Community Board hearing.  Shortly thereafter, if not sooner, we update the website with detailed information about the proposal, allowing the public the opportunity to review the details in advance of the LPC hearing. After the LPC public hearing, which Village Preservation also attends, we immediately update the website to let the public know if the application was approved, disapproved, or if the applicant was asked to return with revisions at a later date.

Village Preservation continues to track and report on all revisions made to a proposal until the application is officially either approved or denied.

What determines the order in which the applications are displayed on the website?

The applications are arranged according to the latest action taken by the LPC. Thus the most recent applications posted are those that will be heard at the next LPC hearing.

The website said that an application was to be heard at the LPC last week. I attended the hearing and the item was never heard. Why is this?

It is not uncommon for applications to be “laid over” at the LPC (in other words, postponed for a later date). In rare cases, applications may be withdrawn entirely. Sometimes these postponements or withdrawals happen well in advance of the hearing, and other times at the very last minute. Village Preservation updates this website as soon as we receive word that an application has been laid over. For the most up-to-date information, please refer to the LPC agenda. You can also sign up for email updates by Village Preservation on the latest status of a particular application, click HERE.

I checked the LPC agenda and I don’t see a time listed for the application I want to see. Why not?

The LPC updates their agendas with the scheduled time of each item late in the day on the Friday prior to each hearing. Make sure to check back then to see exactly when the application will be heard. If you intend to testify, make sure to arrive early so you can fill out and submit a public speaker form.

Is there a way to see an actual copy of the approved permit?

The LPC has digitized Certificates of Appropriateness and staff level permits since 2016, which are searchable on their database, click HERE for their Permit Application Finder. If you are interested in seeing a permit and/or architectural drawings for work at a specific address that is not found in this database, you may fill out a Records Access Request and submit it to the LPC.

What are designation reports and why does Village Preservation include them with each application on this site?

The LPC publishes a designation report each time an individual landmark or historic district is designated. Designation photos accompany each report. This report is critical to the landmarks process, as it describes the way the building looked at the time is was designated a landmark. Furthermore, the way a building is described in the report often influences the way it is regulated. You may view full designation reports for all historic districts and individual landmarks within Village Preservation’s catchment area on our Resources page.

What are tax photos?

Between 1939 and 1941, and again in the 1980s, the City photographed every single lot in all five boroughs of New York. The LPC often uses these photos to determine how a building has changed over time and to assess the appropriateness of certain proposed changes. The entire collection of tax photos may be viewed at the NYC Department of Records.

My neighbors have just begun construction on their house. I searched this site for information about the approved work and nothing came up. Why is this?

There may be a few reasons for this:

) The permit may be for minor work and may have received a staff-level permit from the LPC. These types of permits are not required to go through the public hearing process and thus are not tracked on this website. If you are interested in seeing all permits and/or architectural drawings for work at a specific site, you may fill out a Records Access Request and submit it to the LPC.

2) The building might be outside the boundaries of an historic district. Work on non-landmarked properties does not require LPC approval. You may check to see if a building is a landmark using DOB’s Building Information Search (a building will be coded “L – Landmark” if it is either an individual landmark or if it is included within the boundaries of an historic district).

3) The work might be illegal. Check to see if the building owners have posted permits from both DOB and the LPC on the outside of their building. If you believe that work is being performed without permits, please let Village Preservation know by reporting a violation.

I was at the Community Board hearing, and the Community Board recommended denial of the application. However, I notice that the application was approved by the LPC. Why is this?

The Community Board hearing is a critical step in the approval process because it allows the public to review and comment on the proposal in advance of the LPC hearing, and because it allows the Community Board to make a recommendation to the LPC to either approve or deny the application. However, the Community Board does not have the final say in the approval process, and can only recommend. Only the LPC has the official say about whether an application is approved or denied.

As public testimony is welcome at all LPC and Community Board public hearings, it is important that you attend both to make sure your voice is heard.

I missed the Community Board hearing, but would like to see photos of the proposal before the LPC hearing. How do I do that?

Village Preservation attends all Community Board Landmarks hearings, and posts all proposals to our website..  LPC also posts applications on their website the Friday before public hearings and meetings, click HERE.

An application I am interested in was heard at the LPC several months ago, and the Commission asked the applicant to return with revisions at a later date. The application is now scheduled to return to the LPC this week. Can I comment on the application at the LPC this week?

In such a case, the applicant will be presenting the revisions at a public meeting. And while public attendance is welcome at the public meeting, testimony is not. However, you can submit comments on a revised application by 4:00pm on the day before the meeting (generally held on Tuesdays like public hearings). SEnd your comments to testimony@lpc.nyc.gov .

Village Preservation will update our site to reflect changes made to an application at all public hearings and public meetings.

I can’t attend the Community Board or the LPC public hearings, but would like to comment on an application. What should I do?

You may feel free to send your comments in advance of the LPC hearing or meeting to testimony@lpc.nyc.gov

To contact the Community Board:

Community Board #2, Manhattan

3 Washington Square Village, #1A

New York, NY 10012

phone: 212-979-2272

fax: 212-254-5102

email: info@cb2manhattan.org

Community Board #3, Manhattan

59 East 4th Street

New York, NY 10003

phone: 212-533-5300

fax: 212-533-3659

email: info@cb3manhattan.org

Community Board #4, Manhattan

330 West 42nd Street, Suite 2618

New York, NY 10036

phone: 212-736-4536

fax: 212-947-9512

email: info@manhattancb4.org

How do I find out more about an application beyond what is listed on this site?

For more information, please feel free to contact Sarah Bean Apmann, Director of Research & Preservation, at sapmann@gvshp.org.