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Make a difference in your neighborhood; Join a community board

By John H. Banks

New Yorkers are uniquely passionate and filled with ideas for how to make their city a better place to live, work, and raise a family.

No group in the city is a finer example of this spirit than the members of the Real Estate Board of New York.

The best way for our members to translate their ideas into action – and to stay current on the happenings in the local neighborhood – is to engage with the local community board, and that is why we are calling on all REBNY members to apply to join their local board.

Community boards are the most grassroots form of civic life in New York City and represent a great chance to get out into your neighborhood and advocate for your community. Often, the debates on issues that shape neighborhoods and impact the lives of New Yorkers happen on the community board.

In Manhattan, for instance, each of the 12 boards has a budget, district manager, and staff. These members are charged with monitoring the delivery of city services like sanitation and street maintenance, planning and renewing land use applications like zoning changes, and making annual recommendations on the city budget.

Additionally, community boards handle liquor license distribution, sidewalk café applications, permits for street fairs, determine neighborhood landmarks, and offer insights on proposals from city agencies.

These responsibilities help determine the shape and character of local neighborhoods.

Aside from the impact of sitting on a community board, there are various benefits of becoming more involved in civic life. A community with a vibrant and participatory democratic system at the local level is more likely to be economically successful. This is because members from these communities are more likely to vote, stay involved, and develop nuanced understandings of the issues facing the neighborhood.

The process to become a board member is simple – the only qualifications you must have is living in or having significant interest in the neighborhood for which you apply, be a resident of New York City, and bring with you a knowledge of the issues.

The deadline to apply for many boroughs is fast approaching. For example, Manhattan’s online forms must be completed by Friday, February 9 and Brooklyn’s is February 15. REBNY has prepared a simple Google form through which its members can denote their interest and receive more information about their community board, which can be found here.

Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to stay on top of the happenings of your neighborhood and make your voice heard. We urge every member to apply – it is the simplest, most direct way to make New York the very best city it can be.

In other REBNY News:

On February 1, the Lower Manhattan Office Building Committee will hold a market-driven discussion over lunch at 101 Greenwich Street, from 12:00– 1:30p.m. This discussion will be led by representatives of Cove Property Group and Bentall Kennedy. Email Julian Speaks for more information: [email protected]

Join REBNY and guest speaker Renée Fishman of Halstead Property for a Breakfast Club Seminar on February 13th, at REBNY’s Bernard H. Mendik Education Center, from 9:30-11:00 a.m. Please register via email: [email protected]

REBNY Salespersons and Broker C’s are invited to a special open meeting of the Residential Sales Council on Wednesday, February 14th, 12–2 p.m. at REBNY. Registration is required. For more information email [email protected]

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