Author

Karen Ansis

Date of Award

1977

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Community Planning

Department

Community Planning

First Advisor

Richard O. Brooks

Abstract

Along with a substantial increase in interest in historic preservation in the last decade has come an acute awareness that landmarks preservation is a real estate, planning, and development activity which frequently involves extensive costs and difficult market decisions.

In response to the needs to assuage and resolve financial and legal conflicts and to establish equitable public policy regarding the built environment, in 1965 the City of New York enacted one of the most innovative and progressive landmarks preservation statutes in the country. Because this law has served as a model for other localities and because this law has been successfully challenged in litigation, its strengthening and the strengthening of the framework for landmarks preservation in New York City are pressing concerns for preservationists.

In an effort to make landmarks preservation more practicable, in the spring of 1975 a committee of prominent lawyers in the City met and discussed six legal approaches for improving landmarks preservation. The approaches were: 1) that the standard .for judging hardship for charitable institutional owners of landmarks entail the concept of general usability; 2) that the Landmarks Preservation Commission be granted a reasonable period of time in which to devise a preservation plan which is acceptable to the owner for the structure; 3) that the transfer of a tax abatement to a taxpaying property owned by a tax-exempt landmark landlord be investigated; 4) that changes in the air rights transfer laws in the City be reviewed; 5) that the integration of landmarks preservation into the City's master plan and zoning ordinance be explored; and 6) that the establishment of a city agency to lease space in and manage landmark properties should be examined.

Subsequent to a presentation of the economic and legal frameworks for historic preservation in the thesis , each of the above approaches is assessed and it is concluded that the approaches, as stated, will not have a serious and positive impact on landmarks preservation efforts. Recommendations for expanding the approaches and for other means of encouraging landmarks preservation federal income tax incentives, easements programs, new funding sources, and public education programs are then suggested.

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