Calling All Impassioned Locals: Here’s How to Join Your Community Board

A Community Board 3 meeting. Photo by Cate Corcoran

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    Do you loathe or love that luxury tower planned for your neighborhood? Would you do anything for a bike lane on your block? Don’t think the restaurant on the corner deserves a liquor license?

    Consider joining your local community board. Here’s how.

    First: What Is a Community Board?

    Community boards are the most local form of government in New York City. Each one is made of 50 voluntary (read: unpaid) members tasked with addressing local complaints, zoning and land-use issues, and making recommendations for the city’s budget process, among other responsibilities.

    The boards hold public meetings once a month as well as additional public hearings on specific issues.

    To find your community board district, check out a boundary map, or type in your address here and check under the Neighborhood Information subsection.

    How to Get On Your Community Board

    Members are not elected, but appointed — half by the borough president and the other half by the district’s City Council member. Applicants must live, work or have a professional interest in the district, and be a New York City resident.

    On the application, you’ll be asked:

    • if you’ve attended a meeting at the board you’re applying for in the last year
    • to list all the civic, community or neighborhood groups you are a part of
    • to provide three references
    • to state why you should appointed

    Online, the application is only two pages long.

    Brooklyn Community Board

    Chaos at a 2014 Community Board 9 meeting over zoning. Photo by Rachel Holliday Smith for DNAinfo

    But, Do You Want to Serve On Your Community Board?

    If appointed, you will likely serve on at least one subcommittee, for which you will need to attend monthly meetings in addition to the monthly full board meeting — meaning the commitment will require a minimum of 10 hours a month.

    “You do it because you find it satisfying,” Robert Perris, district manager of Brooklyn’s CB2, told Curbed. “If it feels like work or a chore, you join a bowling league or something else instead.”

    Still Interested? Apply by February 15

    Borough President Eric L. Adams has announced the opening of this year’s Brooklyn applications, and for the first time ever there is now a digital submission option. Applications are due February 15, and are available on the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President’s website.

    Appointments usually happen in late spring, around May, but no exact date is yet available.

    In a press release, Borough President Adams noted he would be particularly pleased to see local teenagers applying for board positions. Last year, teenagers of at least 16 years of age served on five Brooklyn community boards, and Adams has a new goal to have two youth on every board in the borough.

    Are you 16 years old? Older? Do you love to passionately debate neighborhood changes? Apply!

    Brooklyn Community Board

    A Community Board 15 meeting. Photo by Alex Ellefson via Sheepshead Bites

    Related Stories
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