What is a Community Board? and What Do They Do
What is a Community Board?
New York City is divided into 59 geographic Community Districts, each one having an appointed 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. The Community Board hires a District Manager who is responsible for running the District Office.
What does the Community Board do?
The Community Board is the official municipal body whose primary mission is to advise elected officials and government agencies on matters affecting the social welfare of the district. Manhattan Community Board 11 (CB11) meets on the third Tuesday of each month, except during July and August. All meetings are open to the public. In an attempt to maximize accessibility, the general meetings are held at different locations within the district. We are your local non-partisan interface to the many offices and agencies of City government.
How does the Community Board function?
The Community Board’s general meetings are run according to Roberts Rules of Order. While the public is encouraged to attend and observe Community Board proceedings, only Board Members can discuss and vote on motions before it. The Community Boards were created by City Charter, and their roles and responsibilities are defined in Chapters 69 and 70. They also must operate within all applicable City, State and Federal laws that govern public bodies. CB11 also has its own set of by-laws.
We encourage the public to attend the Community Board’s various Public Hearings, committee meetings, informational meetings and special events to participate actively in the items before the Community Board at the most grassroots level. All meetings of the Community Board are open to the public, and are posted on our online Calendar.
Who does CB11 represent?
CB11 represents the community of East Harlem which is bounded by 96th Street, 142nd Street, Fifth Avenue, the Harlem River, the East River and includes Randall’s Island & Ward’s Island.
What issues does CB11 get involved in?
Community Boards in general have three distinct areas of focus – land use, budget, and service delivery. CB11, in its advisory capacity, sponsors public meetings where topical issues involving the projects, programs and policies that affect the district will be presented, discussed and, at times, debated in an open forum.
Land Use. The Community Board routinely reviews applications that involve the acquisition, disposition and/or significant change of use of City-owned properties. It hosts Public Hearings and sponsors open meetings to discuss and formulate recommendations on land use matters coming before it. The Community Board is the first stage at which land use matters are formally reviewed in accordance with the City’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP).
In addition to matters pertaining to City property, the Community Board also reviews items related to private properties where property owners are seeking approval to use, develop or otherwise modify a property in a way that would not automatically be allowable under the property’s zoning designation. Other forms of land use reviews may involve properties in Landmark Districts or voluntary informational presentations by property owners.
Budget. The Community Boards are required to submit to the Mayor and City Council their Capital (projects) and Expense (programs and services) budget priorities for consideration in the formulation of the City’s budget. CB11 is constantly receiving input from the public on projects, programs and services that are needed within the district. While the Community Board submits budget priorities on behalf of the district for consideration, the final decision over which projects, programs and services get funded in the City’s budget is made by the Mayor and the City Council, with input from the Borough Presidents.
Service Delivery. The day-to-day processing of citizen complaints and requests for municipal services are handled by the District Office under the supervision of the District Manager. The District Office is prepared to take complaints and requests for service from any constituent of the district. It is important to contact the District Office with complaints and requests for services so that the Community Board can monitor and work toward improving service delivery in the district. Calls such as these also provide the Community Board with important indicators of the levels of resources that might be most needed in the district, reflected by the types of calls received.
MEMBERS OF COMMUNITY BOARD 11
Chairperson – Diane Collier
Vice-Chairperson – vacant
Treasurer – Edward Santos
Assistant Treasurer – vacant
Secretary – Jose Altamirano
Assistant Secretary – vacant
Committee ChairsEconomic Development, Culture & Tourism – Jose Grajales
Environment, Open Space & Parks – Frances Mastrota
Housing – Wendy Hewlett
Health, Human Services, Immigration & Seniors – Jewel Jones
Land Use, Landmarks & Planning – La Shawn Henry
Licenses & Permits – James Garcia
Office Oversight – Neil Flynn
Nominating (2015) – Nilsa Orama
Public Safety & Transportation – Jose Altamirano
Youth & Education – David Giordano
StaffDistrict Manager, Angel D. Mescain
Assistant District Manager, Mia Brezin
Community Associate, Norma Ojeda