The Real Deal New York

Bill would require a city planner to attend every community board meeting

Council member Ben Kallos to propose that borough presidents' offices get planning department

March 31, 2015 12:50PM

NYC Urban Planners

From left: Ben Kallos and earlier Midtown East rezoning plan

City Council member Ben Kallos plans to introduce a bill today requiring that a city planner attend every meeting held by the city’s 59 community boards.

Kallos said the bill intends to give communities a more active role in the land use review process, the Gotham Gazette reported. The bill would form a planning department in the five borough president offices. There would be at least one professional urban planner on staff for each community board.

Brooklyn has the most community boards, at 18. Queens has 14, while Manhattan and the Bronx each have 12 and Staten Island has three.

Kallos, who chairs the governmental operations committee, is expected to introduce the bill at the City Council meeting Tuesday night. He said the long-delayed proposed rezoning of Midtown East helped influence this bill.

“The City has two main powers,” Kallos told the Gotham Gazette. “The first is over budget and the community boards have a say in that. They make their budget priorities known. The other is land use. In order to give community boards power and a voice in that land use process, they need skilled technical help.” [Gotham Gazette]Mark Maurer 

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