New York City is home to a unique system of local government known as Community Boards. These boards are made up of volunteer members appointed by the local county president, with half of them nominated by the City Council members who represent the community district. The primary purpose of a Community Board is to coordinate the delivery of services to the community. Under the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), once the Department of Urban Planning certifies that a request relating to the use, development, or improvement of real estate has been completed, the affected community boards can hold public hearings and submit recommendations for consideration to the Urban Planning Commission before making a decision.
Annually, community boards assess the needs of their neighborhoods through the Community District Needs Statement. This statement is used to inform the mayor's preliminary budget before January 16, which includes agency funding recommendations based on community board requests. The Rules and Appeals Board generally has jurisdiction over special-use permits of a local nature (along with zoning variations), such as for gas stations, clubs, camps, and utility facilities. The Urban Planning Commission retains jurisdiction for projects that have a greater impact or involve planning issues beyond the neighborhood local. In short, Community Boards are an essential part of New York City's local government system.
They are responsible for assessing the needs of their neighborhoods and making recommendations in the city's budget process to address them. They also have jurisdiction over special-use permits and zoning variations. By understanding how Community Boards work, residents can better advocate for their neighborhoods and ensure that their voices are heard in local government.