Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Will the Demolition Review Bill Become Law

Got this news earlier today from the 93rd Street Beautification Association -- the people who won't stop until Marx Brothers Place is a reality! (And it will be, people, it will be.)


The NYC Demolition Review amendment has taken one small step in the legislative process and one giant leap for preservation.

After careful review and consideration, NYC Council Member Tony Avella, has asked the City Counsel to draft legislation modeled upon the Demolition Review amendment proposed by the 93rd Street Beautification Association (proposed bill attached here as a PDF file).

Along with other antiquated laws still governing NYC's fast-paced Building boom, the city has lagged far behind the curve on legal procedures by which to protect historically significant structures. Since only 1% of NYC's inventory is either designated or lies within an historic district, the only status which triggers review prior to demolition, 99% of the city's inventory is perpetually vulnerable to being razed to rubble without any review at all.

The speed with which development has been gobbling up whole neighborhoods over the last five years has resulted in the irreparable loss of historically significant structures, irreplaceable chapters in our city's much vaunted history. Many of these homes and buildings could have easily been recycled, restoring the splendor of their architectural features as well as our city's collective cultural heritage while leaving a much smaller carbon footprint than the "Bigfoot" impact of full-scale demolition and new construction.

The Demolition Review bill, which finds legislative counterparts in the cities of Chicago, Boston and Yonkers, NY (to name but a few), would improve the way real estate development occurs in NYC by protecting historically significant structures and neighborhoods from summary demolition.

If passed, the law would incorporate a mechanism by which historically significant structures would be reviewed prior to the DOB issuing a demolition permit (are there alternatives to demolition? Is there a buyer who would recycle the structure rather than demolish it?, etc.).

The 93rd Street Beautification Association is delighted that NYC Council Member Tony Avella has taken the initiative to move this important piece of legislation one step closer to law. Now we are eager to see the Demolition Review bill, which was designed to protect our city's historic structures and neighborhoods, garner the full support of NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn and all the Council Members.

For more information, please contact us at: or 212.969.8138 or visit our blog at

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