Bill de Blasio Picks Margery Perlmutter for BSA, Swaps Out a Landmarks Pick

Mayor Bill de Blasio. (Photo: NYC Mayor's Office)

Mayor Bill de Blasio. (Photo: NYC Mayor’s Office)

Mayor Bill de Blasio has tapped Margery Perlmutter, a land use attorney and architect, to be commissioner of the Board of Standards and Appeals—as well as swapping out a previous nominee for the Landmarks Preservation Commission due to potentials for her to recuse herself from votes.

Ms. Perlmutter’s name was submitted for approval to the City Council Monday night, the mayor’s office told the Observer, along with two picks for the LPC.

Ms. Perlmutter is a partner in the land use practice group at the law firm Bryan Cave LLP, where she helps shepherd clients through the city’s zoning and land uses processes, including the types of appeals she’ll soon oversee. She previously worked as an architect for two decades, and sits on the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission. She did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

While it’s not the highest profile appointment, the BSA wields significant power—it can grant zoning variances, special permits, and reviews appeals to the determinations of the Department of Buildings.

The mayor’s office will also announce Tuesday two new nominations to the Landmarks Preservation Commission—and the rescinding of one prior nomination, Marcie Kesner. The firm where Ms. Kesner works, Kramer Levin, had enough clients with business before the city that there was concern she’d have to recuse herself from LPC votes often.

“Marcie Kesner is exceptionally well-qualified to sit on the LPC, and the Conflicts of Interest Board had issued a guidance letter signifying approval of her future appointment,” de Blasio spokesman Wiley Norvell told the Observer.  “However, upon receipt of the COIB guidance letter and consideration of the effect of her firm’s client representations on her ability to fully participate in the LPC’s deliberations, it was mutually agreed between the Mayor’s Office and Ms. Kesner to examine other opportunities within the administration that could fully benefit from her considerable experience.”

The de Blasio administration is looking to find a new spot for Ms. Kenser on a different board, the mayor’s office said.

In the meantime, Mr. de Blasio has nominated Adi Shamir Baron and John Gustafsson for spots on the LPC. 

Mr. Shamir Baron works in strategic planning and design as a consultant, and has previously served as executive of the nonprofit Van Alen Institute, which promotes public architecture and design.

Mr. Gustafsson, a retired attorney, is the chairman of the Board of the Historic House Trust of New York City, a public-private partnership with the city Parks Department to care for historic architecture within city parks. He’s also served as the president of the Staten Island Historical Society.