Community Boards are, and have been, an essential part of local governance in New York City. From enforcing local codes to connecting elected officials and policymakers with community members, CB’s serve as a powerful force in shaping the present and future opportunities of our neighborhoods. However, Community Boards are oftentimes unrepresentative bodies, skewing the general opinion of residents to those in power. To make matters worse. Community Boards can only offer recommendations regarding how our neighborhoods are shaped through new developments. To meet the needs of our communities, provide greater economic opportunities, and address issues of health, safety, and climate change, we have to address the issues of representation and power in our community boards.
- Create outreach plans with local officials and organizations to ensure board members reflect the age, racial, socio-economic, and geographic diversity of the community they represent before being submitted to a Screening Committee
- Revise the City Charter to create Community Planning Organizations (CPO’s). Similar to jury duty, CPO’s are comprised of community members who will be contacted to and compensated for spending time with community board members in policy-making and decision making processes
- Make hiring, outreach, community board discussions, and community board information publicly available for viewing and comment
- Require Community Board input in ULURP application certifications which will also include environmental and racial impact studies for public viewing
- Support Community Boards by connecting members with policy professionals, policy trainings, and excluding Boards from budget cut
To learn more, read the remainder of the policy brief here.