Section 2800(d) of the New York City Charter sets forth Community Board responsibilities. The overall obligation is to consider and address the needs of the respective Community District, in an advisory capacity. Community Boards cannot undertake this mission single-handedly, so a fundamental imperative is to both consult and inform elected officials, government agencies, other Community Boards, and the general public.
Three major responsibilities are most frequently associated with Community Boards: participation in the City’s budget process, review of land use applications, and monitoring and evaluating municipal service delivery. In addition, Community Boards increasingly participate in the review of a variety of applications submitted to City and State agencies.
City Budget & Planning
Community Boards participate in the formulation of the City’s budget through attendance at annual budget consultations, yearly preparation of statements of need and priorities, and other discrete opportunities to comment. Statements on the budget form the basis for testimony at public hearings, and discussions with elected and agency officials.
Community Boards review applications to acquire, dispose of, or significantly change the use of City-owned property. They also review applications to develop private property in a way not allowed by the zoning designation. In addition, Community Boards review some applications to alter individual landmarks or property in historic districts. Some projects are required to undergo an environmental review and Boards may engage in that process as well.
Municipal Service Delivery
Statements of need and budget priorities implicitly and explicitly comment on the delivery of municipal services. Community Boards may also address concerns in committee meetings and at meetings of the District Service Cabinet, made up of local agency representatives. District Office staff process complaints and requests, which also serve as feedback on service delivery.
Other Agency Applications
In addition to the land use applications summarized above, various State and City agencies solicit the opinions of Community Boards on other applications. For example, the New York State Alcoholic Beverage Control Law requires applicants to notify Community Boards of their intention to submit an application for a license for on-premise consumption of alcohol. Liquor licenses are the applications most frequently reviewed by Community Board 2. Applications for block parties and street festivals are also reviewed by the District Office.