QBP Richards receives 843 applications for community boards in 2024

There were nearly 900 applicants to join the Queens community boards in 2024.
Photo by Anthony Medina

The office of Queens Borough President Donovan Richards announced Monday that it has received a total of 843 applications for positions on one of the borough’s 14 community boards this spring.

Of the 843 applications, 592 were from people who are not already part of the community board. Since Richards assumed office in December 2020, his office has received a total of 3,596 applications across four application cycles for positions on community boards.

Prior to Richards taking office, the Queens Borough President’s office had never received more than 600 applications in a year. Richards’ office has received at least 800 applications every year thus far. He credits continued outreach efforts, the modernization of the application itself and a commitment to fostering an interest in community service among Queens residents of all backgrounds and identities as being key contributing factors for this increase in interest to join the Queens community boards.

In 2021, Richards enacted a series of community board reforms. This included digitizing applications, allowing for residents to apply through an online form that is easy to fill out. This also led to a more diverse pool of applicants. Those approved to be members have helped to address historic membership disparities pertaining to age, race, gender identity and sexual orientation.

“The values of community service and civic engagement run deep in Queens,” Richards said. “Yet again, it’s clear that in every neighborhood across this borough, there are so many people who are excitedly stepping up to make their communities better places to live, work and play. I’m grateful to all 843 applicants, and I’m thrilled that 70% of the applications we received came from individuals who were not already members of their community board. I’m certain the eventual 2024 group of appointees will be yet another strong and committed class of public servants.”

The 2024 application portal to join community boards in Queens was open from Jan. 3 through Feb. 16. Those who end up getting appointed to serve will be notified before the beginning of their two-year terms, set to start on Apr. 1. The appointees will be publicly announced by Richards in early April.

Some of the responsibilities of community board members include dealing with land use and zoning issues, among other duties. Community boards have an important advisory role and must be consulted on the placement of most municipal facilities within a community. The boards must also review applications for zoning changes or variances. These community boards also hold hearings and issue recommendations about the City budget, municipal service delivery and numerous other matters that impact their communities.

All Queens community board members are appointed by the Queens Borough President, pursuant to the City Charter. At least half of the appointees for the community boards are nominated by the City Council members representing their respective Community Districts. Each board has up to 50 unsalaried members who serve two-year terms. Community board members who wish to continue serving on a board after the end of their terms are required to reapply at the conclusion of their terms and are subject to review and reconsideration.

In 2021, 110 new community board members were appointed by Richards. There were 94 new members appointed in 2022. A record of 116 members were appointed in 2023.