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NYC Landmarks Commission Debuts Digital Permitting

Portico, the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s new portal, features an online assistant to help expedite modernization for historically significant buildings and sites. It replaces a system that had only recently begun moving off paper.

businessman hand working with modern digital tablet computer in modern office with virtual icon diagram
The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) on Tuesday launched a new digital permit application platform, in hopes of improving the user experience for owners of landmark properties seeking renovation and modernization permits.

The new Portico online platform simultaneously serves both property owners and their applicant teams throughout the modernization request process by allowing multiple users to file and review applications for new renovation permits at the same time. Once logged in, owners and teams can also upload supporting documentation, request notices of compliance and receive final permits in one cohesive system.

The portal works to eliminate ambiguity by walking users through a series of questions to identify the most suitable permit for their needs. The system automatically assesses applications to determine if they’re eligible for expedited review from an application assistant. The application assistant will also inform users if they qualify for LPC's Business Express, a multifaceted offering for business owners who are in landmark buildings, which includes a dedicated hotline and a team offering pre-application consultation and personalized application review.

Portico was created through a collaboration between the LPC and the city Office of Technology and Innovation. Its implementation represents a departure from LPC's traditional paper-based and email application processes, and aligns with Mayor Eric Adams' vision outlined in his “Rebuild, Renew, Reinvent: A Blueprint for New York City's Economic Recovery” plan. LPC had only recently moved to an email application process, a news release said.

Steven Bezman, deputy commissioner of applications in the Office of Technology and Innovation, said in a statement it is “proud to support city agencies and organizations on their efforts to provide New Yorkers with more user-friendly interactions with their government.”

“LPC's Portico modernizes the landmarks permitting process by providing building owners with an optimized digital experience,” he added.

Landmarks Preservation Commission Chair Sarah Carroll said in a statement Portico’s launch reflects the commission’s commitment to “ensuring transparency, efficiency and accessibility” in its work.

“Portico is designed to reflect the needs of property owners today by making it easier and more efficient to file for permits for work on New York City's landmark buildings and sites and will serve as a powerful tool in our shared mission to safeguard our city's historic resources in the years to come,” Carroll said.

Portico isn't LPC's only recent technology upgrade. Per the release, it recently enhanced data on violations available on the Permit Application Finder map, which dates to 2018. This fulfilled a goal in Adams’ Vulnerable Buildings Action Plan.