New York City is divided into 59 geographic Community Districts, each with its own Community Board. The Community Boards are municipal bodies of up to 50 representative Board Members. Board Members are appointed by their respective Borough President, half of them at the recommendation of their local City Council Member. They serve in a voluntary capacity for two year staggered terms. Board Members are your neighbors – people who live, work, own a business, or have some other significant interest in the Community District.
Boards meet once each month. At these meetings, members address items of concern to the community. Board meetings are open to the public, and a portion of each meeting is reserved for the Board to hear from members of the public. In addition, Boards regularly conduct public hearings – on the City's budget, on land use matters, and other major issues – to give the people of the community the opportunity to express their opinions.
Board committees do most of the planning and work on the issues that are acted on at Board meetings. Each Board establishes the committee structure and procedures it feels will best meet the needs of its district. The committees meet monthly from September – June. View the Calendar page for more information.
The community board has an important advisory role in dealing with land use, zoning, the budget process, and other issues. For instance, under the Uniformed Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), the matter must come before the community board at a public hearing where residents within and outside the community can present testimony.
The agency applying for consideration under the ULURP procedure must also attend the hearing to respond to community concerns/questions. The community board votes and makes recommendations to the Department of City Planning. For zoning issues, individuals wishing to construct premises contrary to the zoning regulations must apply for a variance to the Board of Standards and Appeals. These applications also come before the board for a public hearing. A recommendation regarding the application is submitted to the Board of Standards and Appeals.
For Capital and Expense Budgets, the process begins with consultations at the district level and moves on to consultations at the borough level; public hearings scheduled by the board, the borough president and the city council before the budget is adopted. Members of the public are encouraged to attend these hearings and to testify. Of course, community boards provide much needed information and coordination to their neighborhood residents. We invite you to participate in our meetings and get involved in local government.