Meenakshi Srinivasan, chair of the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), will end her four-year tenure on June 1, according to published reports.
As Crain's reported:
Land-use attorneys who guide clients through the landmarking process were dismayed to learn of Srinivasan's decision to leave, saying that she had been a respected arbiter of the rules with some serious policy wins.
"She is an exemplary public servant," said Mitch Korbey, chair of Herrick, Feinstein's land-use and zoning practice. "She has the courage to make the right choices and find balance between the commission's core mission of preservation and the need for occasional flexibility."
But members of the preservation community have bristled at Srinivasan's proposed changes to the commission's application rules — with some even calling for her ouster — and said that she was too lenient with developers and not focused enough on the core mission of preserving the past.
"The orientation of the landmarks commission seems to have shifted after the Bloomberg administration," said Simeon Bankoff, head of the Historic Districts Council, "becoming a little less responsive to community-driven applications and more oriented toward implementing city policy."
Most recently, the LPC unveiled several proposed rule changes aimed at streamlining the application process. However, the changes would mean limiting the opportunity for testimony and public comment on the application, a move that angered some local elected officials (Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, among them) and preservationists. (Read more background here at Curbed.)
LPC spokesperson Zodet Negrón said that the resignation "was not in response to any backlash, and she has been planning an exit for some time after 28 years in the public sector," as 6sqft noted.
Mayor de Blasio appointed her head of the LPC in 2014 after her stint as chair and commissioner of the Board of Standards and Appeals.
The mayor released this statement:
"Meenakshi Srinivasan is a talented, dogged public servant and a leader with know-how, and she’s proved that time and again. At the helm of the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, she slicing through decades of regulatory red tape and modernized the commission. We congratulate her and thank her for the important reforms she instituted, and we wish her well in her future pursuits."
In an op-ed at the Daily News in February, Eric Uhlfelder — author of “The Origins of Modern Architecture” — wrote that "the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the last line of defense for protecting historic New York, is rolling over rather than pushing back."