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Community Board 2 to Appoint ‘Public Members’ to Increase Neighborhood Participation

Community Board 2 holds it committee meetings monthly at its office located at 43-22 50th St. in Woodside (GMaps)

Sept. 27, 2022 By Christian Murray

Community Board 2 is offering residents of Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City with the opportunity to become more involved in the district by appointing what’s known as “public members.”

Residents appointed as public members would be able to join one of the many committees on the board and weigh in on issues such as zoning, the issuance of liquor licenses, to the installation of bicycle lanes.

There are 11 committees residents can apply to be part of, including the Landuse and Housing Committee, the City Services & Public Safety committee, and the Transportation Committee. Committee meetings are held monthly at the board office at 43-22 50th St.

A public member would be a voting member of a given committee, which makes recommendations to the full 50-person community board. The recommendations from the committees—particularly with rezoning applications and transportation issues—typically have a significant impact when the full board votes.

The board has opened applications for residents seeking to become public members, and people who are interested are able to apply online. The deadline is Oct. 15.

“We want to provide people in the community with the opportunity to participate,” said Community Board 2 chair Morry Galonoy. “We want people to get involved and we are also looking for people with a wide range of viewpoints.”

The concept of public members has been part of the Community Board 2 bylaws for many years—although there was never a formal process established for people to sign on.

Community Board 2 chair Morry Galonoy (Photo courtesy of Morry Galonoy)

Galonoy said that the board revamped its bylaws in June and created a process to appoint public members.

He said that there will be room for a maximum of two public members per committee to ensure that the expertise and viewpoints of full board members are not diminished. Each committee tends to have between 6 to 12 members.

Galonoy said that he will review the applications and will make appointments after consultation with committee chairs. He said that he seeks people who have expertise in a given field or have viewpoints that will broaden the discussion.

“We’re going to pay special attention to folks, especially for something like land use, who have some kind of professional knowledge or experience,” Galonoy said.

Galonoy said that public members will be appointed for one-year terms. This year, he plans to make appointments in November after reviewing applications over the course of the next month. However, in upcoming years, the board aims to establish one-year terms that would go from September through June.

A regular community board member serves two-year terms and is appointed by the Borough President typically in consultation with a council member. The positions are term limited, with members limited to serve no more than four consecutive two-year terms.

Galonoy said the concept of being a public member not only helps residents get more involved but could also be a pathway for people to become full board members. He said that the public members—should they be appointed later as full board members—would join with institutional knowledge.

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