In its effort to obtain city Landmark status, the Broadway-Flushing Homeowners Association is again asking homeowners to express their support in favor of landmark designation. This request disingenuously implies that homeowners have input and can participate in the landmarking process.
According to the law, landmark designation is not the subject of a vote by the community or homeowners and notification to homeowners is not required.
In a response to my concerns regarding landmark designation, the Law Department of New York City apprised me that “A formal application process does not exist. While the Landmarks Commission seeks and encourages community and property owners’ participation and support when considering proposed landmark designations, neither is a required condition for the designation of a landmark.”
It is clear the wishes and desires of the homeowners are superfluous.
Designation requires homeowners to apply for and receive permits for most work: to paint wood, masonry, or handrails a different color; install exterior light fixtures; install new window sash or frames; etc.
Invoking landmarking to resolve problems resulting from un-enforced building codes is neither the intent nor spirit of the laws. The focus should be on improving, updating and enforcing zoning and building codes and not on limiting the rights of the homeowners and creating fertile ground for more bureaucratic corruption.
Restricting and regulating homeowners’ property rights may stifle their proclivity to enhance and enrich the “gracious sense of place” they created in the first place.
The character and “sense of place” the association cites that distinguishes our neighborhood consists of many elements. Among them are the increasing number of local store front signs, ads, and posters that are indecipherable to many residents.
In the interest of “preserving our neighborhood,” perhaps BFHA should instead seek landmarking of the English language.