2007-05-30 / Editorials

Benefits Weighed

To The Editor:

Some letters have appeared in recent weeks attacking the concept and process of landmarking, most from the same author.

In order for a building or a neighborhood (district) to achieve city landmark status, a lengthy and intense procedure must be followed. The city Landmarks [Preservation] Commission does not designate unless much research is done in order to ascertain that a building or a district has historical, architectural or cultural attributes that would merit landmark status. The commission does not designate just to save a site from demolition. That is an added benefit that comes with landmark status.

If a building or a district is deemed worthy of landmark designation, the benefit to the owner and the community is that the site is protected in perpetuity for all to enjoy and appreciate. The fact that a review is required for any exterior changes should be viewed as a positive component. Because a site is judged landmark worthy, it behooves us all to guard against inappropriate changes to the outside of the structure, or structures in the case of a district. The review process will allow for appropriate and reasonable changes to be made in order to ensure the continuance of the historical and architectural qualities of the site.

The public is actively involved in the landmarking process. Input and comments are sought and considered at different stages of the process. Many civic organizations realize the merits of city landmark designation and actively lobby for it at appropriate sites within their borders.

No one that I can see is deliberately misleading or manipulating the public when it comes to achieving city landmark designation. No one is plotting to take away homeowner rights. With any positive development, some compromise and flexibility will be necessary. In the case of city landmark designation, the benefits to the community at large far outweigh any sacrifice.
Henry Euler
Bayside

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