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By: Elizabeth McTigue Wanga

If you are an owner or tenant of a New York City individual landmark or building within a landmark district, it is a good idea to have the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission involved early in your project. Knowing the rules and requirements for permitting can save on time and design costs.  The NYC LPC does not prevent owners from making changes, they review and permit changes which are appropriate to the building’s character and materials.

Knowing when you need a permit:

Owners and tenants are required to apply to LPC for a permit for work on the exterior of the building which would be considered to be a restoration, alteration, demolition or addition (New Construction). This permit is required whether or not a DOB permit is required. For work on the interior of a property, an LPC permit may still be required if the interior is a designated space, if interior work affects the exterior or if the work requires a DOB permit. LPC permits are not required for doing ordinary repairs and maintenance, such as replacing broken glass or painting to match the existing.

What are the types of permits:

The type of permit required will be determined by the LPC staff once your application is submitted. The majority of permits are Certificates of No Effect or Permit for Minor Work. These are reviewed at the staff level and do not require public hearing or presentation to the local community board. For both of these permits, the application must meet Rules of the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The Certificate of Appropriateness is required when a project cannot obtain a Certificate of No Effect or a Minor Work Permit.

Certificate of No Effect is required when a DOB permit is required for work but that work has no impact on the protected architectural features of the building. These permits must be issued within 30 working days of the staffas confirmation of complete application. There are instances where these permits can be expedited.

A Child Performer Application is required for work that impacts the protected architectural features but does not require the applicant to file with the DOB. This work includes window and door replacement and cleaning, and minor repair of an architectural feature. These permits must be issued within 20 working days of the staffas confirmation of complete application. There are instances where these permits can be expedited.

A Certificate of Appropriateness is for work which requires DOB permits, affects protected features and does not conform to the Rules of the Landmarks Preservation Commission. These permits require a public hearing in front of the Commission. The applicant is also required to contact the local community board. The LPC staff will work with owners and tenants to modify proposed permit applications to meet the rules in order to have the application qualify for staff-level permiting. The time to receive the certificate of appropriateness can take up to 90 working days after all materials are received.

Although discouraged by the LPC, an owner or tenant can be issued a notice of compliance after the work has been performed, if the commission reviews the work and it is in compliance with LPC rules.  An application and supporting documents are required when an owner or tenant has received a violation from performing work without a permit or where there is a change in scope from original permit. The time to receive the certificate of appropriateness can take up to 90 working days after all materials are received. The owner or tenant may incur costs associated with the violation and any cost to remove and reinstall improvements in order to meet the LPC criteria.

How to get a permit:

Get an application from the LPC website, compile materials describing work and existing conditions including, floor plans, elevations, through wall sections, photographs, models, samples and specifications for the project. Sign and submit the application. Then the review begins. Once the staff have determined the type of permit required, they will contact the applicant.  They may request additional materials or a meeting to discuss the project. The staff may provide guidance or request to see mock-ups of the proposed work.

The LPC issues permits in the form of a letter that describes the proposed work and explains why it has been approved. Similarly to the Department of Building permits, the LPC permit must be displayed during construction.

For more in depth discussion on any of these topics, the LPC rules or to download an application please visit NYC.gov. If you have any doubt whether you need a permit for your project, please call the Commission at 212-669-7817 or contact Elizabeth McTigue Wanga at 973-706-8584 or ewanga@sullivanengineeringllc.com.

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Sullivan Engineering provides high-quality building envelope restoration and compliance solutions.

We partner with facilities managers and account executives to provide technical expertise and project management for building envelope restoration, compliance, and maintenance.

Our solutions reduce the overall building life cycle maintenance costs by creating long-lasting, high-quality work for years to come.