New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Council Member Ben Kallos Proposes Dedicated Urban Planners for Community Boards: Planners could assist community in taking on overdevelopment and superscrapers

New York, NY— Council Member Ben Kallos introduced a bill today dedicating urban planners to assist New York City’s 59 community boards with the intent of giving communities a tool to fight against some of the most major over-development. Urban planners would join the Borough President’s office but assist individual community boards.
Community boards play an essential role in decisions over a neighborhood's growth, a role that has increased in importance in the age of the superscraper. The boards play an important advisory role, and must be consulted on the placement of most municipal facilities. In addition, applications for a zoning change must come before the board.
“As big development plays an ever-increasing role and the long-established zoning agreements come into question, community boards must be armed with the best information to advocate effectively for their neighborhoods,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, Chair of the Committee on Governmental Operations, which oversees the board. “Community boards serve as a voice of the people. They should have the tools necessary to understand and tackle the pressing issues faced by our communities.”
In March 2014, Council Member Ben Kallos (District Five, Manhattan) 
released a report entitled, "Improving Community Boards in New York City: Best Practices in Recruitment and Appointment to New York City’s 59 Community Boards," containing dozens of recommendations for reform to New York City's community boards—including adding expert community board staff. The recommendations arose from testimony heard by the New York City Council Committee on Governmental Operations, chaired by Council Member Kallos, at a hearing on reforming the boards.

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