Guide for Landmarks Applicants

Community Board Five’s Landmarks committee is responsible for reviewing applications for landmarked buildings and buildings in designated historic districts. Many applicants, whether they are tenants, owners, consultants or architects, vary in their understanding of the underlying philosophy and regulatory requirements, so the intention of this guide is to make process easier and more productive for everyone. Our policy is to deny any proposal if the applicant fails to appear before the committee.

The purpose of the committee hearing is to provide a public forum for applicants to explain how their proposals respect the historic integrity of a structure and remain harmonious with the landmark or the designated historic district.

Written and spoken descriptions are best supported by graphic depictions of the existing conditions and the proposed changes. Applicants should provide the CB5 office with as much information as possible at least one week prior to the committee meeting. A member of the committee may contact the applicant prior to the public meeting to discuss their application. Please also bring to the Landmarks committee meeting the following, as relevant, and any other exhibits that will be presented to the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC):

  • The date that the application is scheduled to come before the LPC.
  • A copy of the designation report for the subject building, if an individual landmark, or the description of the building in the historic district designation report.
  • Relevant sections of the LPC rules.
  • Historic photos (at minimum a city tax photo).
  • In historic districts, provide overall context drawings and photographs to show how the building relates to the historic district’s boundaries, surrounding block elevations, and the background of the district.
  • Detailed drawings (plans, sections, elevations, window profiles), up-close photos and photo simulations of existing conditions and proposed changes. 
  • A statement on how the proposal is compatible and appropriate within the context of the historic façade and/or district with regard to fenestration, scale, materials, and color.
  • Catalog cuts and samples of all fixtures and finishes.
  • Explanation regarding any deviations from historic precedent due to current codes (i.e. egress, ADA compliance, right-of-way setback, etc.)
  • An account of the applicant’s conversations with LPC staff including the name of the LPC staffer spoken with, and a description of how the proposal evolved as a result of LPC input.
  • For applications involving storefronts, details on exterior signage and exterior lighting.
  • In the case of rooftop additions, mockups must be in place prior to the committee meeting. Photo simulations of the rooftop addition, or more preferably, actual photos should be detailed enough to show its visibility, or lack thereof, from as many viewpoints as possible from the public way.

At least some of the key graphic illustrations should be on boards large enough (min. 16” x 24”) to be seen at a medium distance so they can easily be viewed when the item is presented to the committee. It is also helpful to the committee if the exhibits are distributed in an 8 1/2” x 11” or 11” x 17” handout.