Tips for Testifying
Please keep in mind that public testimony is part of the permanent record and plays an important part in the process of the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). Therefore, it should be concise and focus on the issues before the Commission.
Listed below are suggestions to help make your testimony successful.
Be Familiar with the Commission Process
- Know the location of the Municipal Building, the hearing room, and the meeting or hearing time. Times are posted on the agenda on Fridays prior to public hearings and meetings. Times are subject to change, so please check the LPC online agenda again before leaving for the day’s hearing. Specifically, check to make sure the item in which you are interested has not been removed from the agenda.
- Presentation materials for each agenda item are available online at 5:00 PM on the Thursday prior to the Public Hearing or Meeting.
- On the day of the hearing, Speaker Sign-In Sheets and agendas will be available outside of the hearing room.
- Please give your Speaker Sign-In Sheet to an LPC staff member at the hearing room table. If you cannot stay to actually testify, submission of the Speaker Sheet will ensure that your position is part of the official record.
- If possible, attend a Commission hearing before you testify to become familiar with the process and room layout. If you cannot attend a hearing, you can watch previous hearings on YouTube.
Be Focused and Succinct in your Testimony
- If possible, when you are called to testify, give copies of your testimony to Commission staff before or after your presentation.
- For the record, state your name, address, and the organization or group you represent. State whether you support or oppose the proposed project and briefly explain your position. Keep in mind that you have three minutes to testify, and therefore consider preparing an outline or summary of your most important points so that you testify within the given time.
- Focus your testimony on information and facts that relate to the issues before the Commission. Under the Landmarks Law the Commission considers issues of architectural and historical appropriateness (such as scale, massing, design, materials and color). However, other community issues, such as light and air, impacts on lot line windows, traffic and school seats are not considered by the Commission in their decision-making.
And Finally, Be Respectful
- When drafting and delivering your testimony, please be respectful of the Commission, the applicant, and other members of the public. Please do not interrupt the proceedings.
- Public Hearings at LPC are unusual in that applicants are not seeking a waiver, variance or special consideration from the Commission. They are simply property owners or tenants who would like to perform work on individually designated buildings or on property within a historic district. In most instances the owner believes the work is appropriate and/or necessary.
- Please keep in mind that, with the exception of the Chair, LPC Commissioners are volunteers dedicating a considerable portion of their week to LPC’s work. Their mandate is to consider the merits of every application and to apply the factors in the Landmarks Law.