Dec. 24, 2015 By Michael Florio
Queens residents who are looking to get more involved in their neighborhoods have an opportunity to apply for a seat on their local community board.
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz announced this week that she is accepting applications for the 14 community boards in Queens.
Community boards are made up of up to 50 unsalaried members, who serve two-year terms. The boards issue recommendations to the City and State on matters including budgets, liquor licenses, and, significantly, land use and zoning decisions.
The Borough President officially appoints all applicants to a community board.
However, half the applicants’ names are nominated by the council member in a given district, with the other half unilaterally determined by the Borough President.
Community Board 1 in Astoria currently has 49 members after longtime Chairman Vinicio Donato stepped down earlier this year, according to District Manager Florence Koulouris.
More spots may open up, she added.
“More members may retire which would create more openings,” she said. “The number of new members we receive varies each year, but is usually between two and four.”
Community Board 2, which covers Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City, usually takes on a similar number of members. The Board had four new members join in 2014 and five new members in 2015.
CB 2’s local Councilman, Jimmy Van Bramer, has stated since he took office that he wants a Board that reflects the people who work and live in the community.
“The board reflects that mix a lot more than it did five years ago,” Van Bramer said in April, referring to when he took office.
Koulouris added that just because a spot is open it does not mean that it will be filled.
“It is at the discretion of the Borough President,” she said.
Members must reapply every two years. All applicants, both new and re-applying, are evaluated based on their relevant experience, according to Katz.
If any new members are appointed to CB 1, Koulouris said she is looking forward to working with them.
“The Astoria community is very diverse and it is always nice to meet new people,” she said.
“Being a board member is a great service to the community you love,” she added. “The service is a true gift.”
Katz echoed that sentiment.
“Serving on a Community Board is a significant commitment, demanding in both time and energy,” she said. “Any civic-minded resident willing to make this commitment is encouraged to consider applying.”