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The first community planning boards were established in 1951 by Manhattan Borough President Robert Wagner. The role of the community board, however, has grown in both scope and importance. Fifty-nine community boards citywide make recommendations to the Borough President, City Council, Mayor and various city and state agencies regarding land use, zoning and budgetary matters affecting their district. The Boards also help coordinate the delivery of municipal services, recommend permit processing for street fairs and block parties, handle local complaints, and provide information for the community.
Each of the 59 Community Boards is comprised of 50 unsalaried members appointed by Borough Presidents in consultation with Council Members of the Board district. Board members must reside, work or possess a specific interest in the community they represent.
Community Board 8 represents the Upper East Side of Manhattan and Roosevelt Island. Specifically, our area extends from the north side of East 59th Street to the south side of East 96th Street, Fifth Avenue to the East River, and Roosevelt Island. The Community Board 8 office is a small city agency. The staff, headed by a District Manager, assists the Board with its work, and helps citizens resolve municipal service delivery complaints.
The Community Board, its District Manager and the office staff serve as advocates and service coordinators for the community and its residents, however, the Board is purely advisory and lacks real authority over City agencies and officials. Nevertheless, the Board is usually successful in achieving resolution through dialogue with other government entities.