Neighborhood Intel

What happens when your neighborhood becomes a historic district?

By Virginia K. Smith | March 25, 2015 - 12:22PM

This week, the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to designate the Crown Heights North III Historic District, meaning that the area's unique architecture will be preserved, and that residents will be living with a new set of restrictions.

If you live in the area, how does this affect you? First, residents in landmarked structures are required to get approval from the LPC before starting any renovations or work on the exteriors of their buildings and, among other things, have to stick to the building's original paint color. As we've written previously, windows can become a particular source of headaches for residents of landmarked buildings—laden with charm though often energy-inefficient and non-soundproof—and some buildings only allow residents to put A/C units in windows that face away from the street. One bright side: unless you've got a finicky co-op board to contend with, you'll still have leeway to decorate the interiors as you see fit.

Of course, there's a lot to be said for a building (and a block) with charm and history. "I think it’s wonderful,” one Crown Heights resident told Brownstoner. “I go into areas where they tore down beautiful churches and buildings, and I’m happy that won’t happen here." In the case of the newly designated Crown Heights North III district, neighborhood activists say their primary focus is on educating residents about the new rules and providing elderly residents with necessary resources to maintain their buildings. To that end, the Crown Heights North Association is hosting a town hall meeting at the Brooklyn Children's Museum on April 15th at 6:30pm, where LPC representatives will help explain the new rules.

​If you think your neighborhood should qualify for something similar—and are worried about flippers tearing down that quaint brick townhouse across the street—we've got tips on how to snag landmark status for your little corner of the city.


7 things to consider before buying in a landmarked building

Ask an Expert: Renovating in an about-to-be landmarked building

9 things you don't know—but want to—about Crown Heights

How to turn your neighborhood into a historic district

5 New York homes where you can live in a landmark

A landmarked home is quaint, but not so practical

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