New York City's Community Boards are beginning to adapt to the social distancing regulations of the COVID-19 pandemic by going virtual – a key step toward restarting the land use approvals process in New York City. Some Community Boards are holding both committee-level and full board meetings online, based on New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo's Executive Order permitting virtual public meetings and hearings. In order to ensure the public has an opportunity to be heard, testimony can be submitted to the Community Boards by e-mail or by participating in the virtual hearing.
For example, Manhattan Community Board 1 held its Land Use Committee meeting on May 11 using WebEx. Manhattan Community Board 3 is holding a full board meeting via Zoom on May 26 and has held committee meetings with public testimony via Zoom. Bronx Community Board 2 held a virtual meeting via WebEx on April 28, 2020 and has future meetings planned for May. Not all Community Boards have gone virtual yet – Brooklyn Community Boards 1, 2, and 3 have not provided any virtual meeting information on their website. Brooklyn Community Board 5 has indicated it will move to virtual meetings, but full details are not yet available. Queens Community Board 2 and Community Board 3 will be holding meetings via teleconference, but details have not been posted online. Staten Island's three Community Boards have not provided information regarding virtual meetings at this time.
As we noted in our update on April 20, some City agencies have also transitioned to virtual hearings. The Landmarks Preservation Commission will also launch virtual hearings, while the Board of Standards and Appeals has held several weeks of virtual hearings, which include a public testimony portion, alleviating some critics' concerns over public participation in the review process.
We will continue to keep you updated as additional developments occur.