Last updated April 24, 2013
Attending meetings of your local Community Board is a great way to get a feel for and to address the important issues in your community. There is a great deal that happens on the local level through community boards and community-based organizations and, therefore, many opportunities to take action in your community. Attend the next general meeting of your community board and see what is being discussed!
Residents can become official members of their local community board through an application process run by each Borough President’s office. Local city council members may recommend individuals to the Borough President for appointment as well. Of course, you don’t have to be an official member of your community board to attend meetings, make your voice heard, and take action in your community. Each community board also offers various issue committees that board members sit on and that other members of the public may join as “public members” or simply become involved with my attending the meetings. Find your local Community Board page below for more info…
Follow NYC community boards on Twitter. (this is the profile for all of the community boards united, there are different Twitter handles for most individual community boards)
Board Composition & Membership
Community boards are local representative bodies. There are 59 community boards throughout the City, and each one consists of up to 50 unsalaried members, half of whom are nominated by their district’s City Council members. Board members are selected and appointed by the Borough Presidents from among active, involved people of each community and must reside, work, or have some other significant interest in the community.
Each community board is led by a District Manager who establishes an office, hires staff, and implements procedures to improve the delivery of City services to the district. While the main responsibility of the board office is to receive complaints from community residents, they also maintain other duties, such as processing permits for block parties and street fairs. Many boards choose to provide additional services and manage special projects that cater to specific community needs, including organizing tenants associations, coordinating neighborhood cleanup programs, and more.
Community boards have a variety of responsibilities, including but not limited to:
- Dealing with land use and zoning issues. CBs have an important advisory role and must be consulted on the placement of most municipal facilities in the community. Applications for a change in or variance from the zoning resolution must come before the board for review, and the board’s position is considered in the final determination.
- Assessing the needs of their own neighborhoods. CBs assess the needs of their community members and meet with City agencies to make recommendations in the City’s budget process.
- Addressing other community concerns. Any issue that affects part or all of a community, from a traffic problem to deteriorating housing, is a proper concern of community boards.
It is important to note that while community boards serve as advocates for their neighborhood, they do not have the ability to order any City agency or official to perform any task. Despite this limitation, boards are usually successful in resolving the problems they address.