Reaching Out to Mayor de Blasio on Housing Plan, Improving the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC)

Housing Plan: Village Preservation has written to Mayor de Blasio about his recently announced five-borough, ten year housing plan, which is intended to create and preserve affordable housing throughout our city. The plan is a general outline with greater detail regarding how it will be implemented — and how it would affect our neighborhoods — still to be determined. The plan appears to be a centerpiece of the new administration’s policies and planning.

The Mayor should be lauded for tackling the increasing unaffordability of New York City, and for seeking ways to address it. And we were pleased to see that a large component of the Mayor’s plan involves strategies for preserving existing affordable housing, which has been disappearing from our neighborhoods.

But a significant component of the Mayor’s plan does also entail the creation and construction of new affordable housing, and calls for allowing greater density than current zoning allows at certain (as yet unspecified) locations to allow affordable housing to be built. GVSHP has reached out to the Mayor to point out that the zoning in much of our neighborhoods already allows too great a density of development, and to urge him to work closely with us and other community groups to identify which, if any, locations in our neighborhoods are appropriate for greater density. We also urged him to work closely with us and other community groups to explore options for the creation of new affordable housing that does not require increasing the allowable density of new development. Read the entire letter here.

Improving the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC): GVSHP has also reached out the Mayor and LPC Chair to suggest ways in which the LPC could work better with the public, improve the accessibility of information about landmarks applications and the status of landmarks complaints, make attending public hearings easier, and generally allow the public to get information and participate in the landmarks review process more easily.

Among these suggestions are posting updates to its Twitter feed about where the Commission is on its public hearing schedule (the Commission often runs hours behind or ahead of schedule at its public hearings, making it difficult for members of the public to participate in these hearings in the middle of a work day), providing images of landmarks applications on their website (currently one can only see the actual applications at a public hearing or by coming to the LPC the Friday before a public hearing), and posting the status of responses to landmarks violations complaints on their website. All could easily be done with existing technology and little burden upon the LPC. Read the entire letter here.

May 14, 2014