Community Board 11 welcomes four new members from northeast Queens neighborhoods

Clockwise from top left: Jessica Burke, Jena Lanzetta, Vidya Pappachan, Jason Chen

Community Board 11 recently welcomed four new members to its ranks at Monday’s monthly meeting.

Just months after the Queens borough president’s office opened digital applications to join one of 14 community boards, four northeast Queens residents were chosen to serve their respective communities: Jessica Burke and Jena Lanzetta of Bayside; Jason Chen of  Little Neck; and Vidya Pappachan of Douglaston.

The CB 11 appointments were part of 931 applications that Donovan Richards office received back in February.

Bayside resident Jessica Burke was born and raised in Bayside and told the board that after living in other places over the years, “nothing is like Bayside, Queens.” In 2020, Burke founded the Friends of Crocheron & John Golden Park in response to the city’s budget constraints and to prevent park disrepair. She currently serves as the organization’s president and chair of the history committee.

“I really look forward to helping bring little bits and pieces of what I saw working in other neighborhoods or things that I learned about in school into the community board. I’m just happy to be here to learn from everybody — to see what works and help support different professionals that are here using their professional knowledge to make the community better,” Burke said.

Fellow Bayside resident and teacher Jena Lanzetta was also welcomed to CB 11 during Monday’s meeting. Lanzetta has lived in Board 11 for over four decades and said she takes “great pride in [her] community.” She currently serves as the president of the Northwest Bayside Civic Association, (NBCA) which covers the area of 26th Avenue and Francis Lewis Boulevard to the Clearview Expressway.

NBCA was founded in October 2015 when the group rallied against a six-story high school being built on 32nd Avenue.

“I take great pride in my community [and] I take my role as the civic president representing my neighbors very seriously. I look forward to continuing to work with everybody and serving and representing my community,” Lanzetta said.

Little Neck resident Jason Chen also joined Board 11 this year after having spent “most of [his] life” in Queens. The accountant said that part of what motivated him to join CB 11 was a desire to become more civically engaged.

“I wanted to be more active,” Chen said. “I’m really invested in the neighborhood now because I’ve got two young kids and I really love the community. We have a tight-knit neighborhood and I wanted to kind of bridge that gap between my neighborhood and the community board and just kind of be a voice for them.”

After Vidya Pappachan and her husband moved to Douglaston in the midst of the pandemic, the Massachusetts native decided to join Community Board 11. Prior to moving to northeast Queens, Pappachan lived in Astoria for a decade and worked as public defender.

“I happen to be a public interest lawyer,” Pappachan said. “I worked hard in Astoria in terms of being active in the community and I plan to set down roots [in Douglaston] for the long term. I can’t think of a better way to do that than to serve my new neighborhood. I’m really here to serve as an ear to concerns, to do anything. I used to be a public defender for a decade, I now continue my work in public interest law and it’s just part of who I am and so it just felt like the natural next step to want to be part of the community board and get to know my community better.”

Community Board 11 meets at 7:30 p.m. on the first Monday of every month. The board serves residents in Auburndale, Bayside, Douglaston, Douglas Manor, Little Neck, Hollis Hills and Oakland Gardens.