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Oahu's Neighborhood Board System


YOU ARE THE DIFFERENCE

The theme, "The Responsible City", was chosen by the City Charter Commission when it presented the revised City Charter to the voters in 1972. A major component of this concept is full citizen participation in government so that the powers of the City shall properly serve and advance the aspirations of its citizens.

However, the initiative for action must come from the people themselves. While neighborhoods and neighborhood boards were established under the Charter as a means to increase and assure effective citizens participation, their creation and implementation are optional.

The Neighborhood Plan, which designates boundaries and provides for neighborhood formation, leaves many decisions open to the community so that an individually designed approach, suited to each neighborhood can be implemented.

In 1984, Oahu's voters approved a City Charter a City Charter amendment expanding the role of the neighborhood boards to include all levels of government. Every resident has the opportunity to participate in government decision making which affects his or her community. You can play a significant part in making government more responsive to community needs. The decision is up to you.

WHAT IS THE NEIGHBORHOOD BOARD SYSTEM?

Oahu's Neighborhood Board System was created to assure and increase community participation in the decision-making process of government. The system applies the concept of participatory democracy, involving communities in the decisions affecting them. It establishes an island wide network of elected neighborhood boards as communication channels, expanding and facilitating opportunities for community and government interaction.

HOW WAS THE SYSTEM CREATED?

The process for development of the Neighborhood Board System began when the Revised City Charter of Honolulu (1973) called for the establishment of a nine-member Neighborhood Commission. The Commission was responsible for developing a Neighborhood Plan outlining a uniform system of neighborhood boards on Oahu. Neighborhood boards were then formed in accordance with the Plan.


WHAT ARE THE MAJOR POINTS OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD PLAN?

The Neighborhood Plan designates neighborhood boundaries throughout Oahu and provides procedures for forming neighborhood areas and neighborhood boards. Some of the Plan's major points are:

    *    Thirty-six neighborhood areas (boundaries)

    *    Initiative petition of 100 registered voters or five percent of voters within the area (which ever is less) for the formation of a neighborhood.

    *    Election of board members by residents 18 years and older.

    *    Two-year terms for board members.

    *    Advisory role for all neighborhood boards.


WHAT ARE THE FUNCTIONS OF A NEIGHBORHOOD BOARD?

Neighborhood boards may serve as a key mechanism through which each neighborhood may communicate its needs and desires, both in the delivery of basic government services and in economic development and land use questions. While the Neighborhood Plan emphasizes the advisory nature of the boards, suggested activities include study and review of capital improvement projects and zoning concerns. In addition, boards may conduct informational forums on governmental decision-making process and may establish community goals, objectives, and priorities. Neighborhood boards are required to hold monthly meetings.

WHO CAN SERVE ON A NEIGHBORHOOD BOARD?

All residents of Oahu, including military personnel and legal resident aliens, who reside in the neighborhood area and subdistrict and who are at least eighteen (18) years of age are eligible to serve on the neighborhood board. Neighborhood board elections are conducted biennially through a mail ballot system. A candidacy declaration form must be filed but no filing fees or nominating papers are required.

HOW CAN A CITIZEN PARTICIPATE IN THE SYSTEM?

Community participation is encouraged and welcomed by the boards. There are many ways in which the community can participate, some of which are:

        *    Voicing your concerns to your board representatives through personal contact or letters.

        *    Attending the regular monthly meetings, public forums and other community events sponsored by your board.

        *    Volunteering to participate on a board committee. You can help resolve community problems or work on a community project.

        *    Responding to surveys conducted by the board.

        *    Be a candidate and/or vote in your board's election.

WHAT IS THE NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSION?

The Neighborhood Commission consists of nine members. Four are appointed by the Mayor, four by the City Council, and the ninth member is appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council. A total of five members must have had one full term of prior board service. Each member serves a five- year term. The Commission is responsible for the periodic review and evaluation of the Plan and neighborhood boards, and assists in the formation of neighborhood boards upon request.

Administrative services and technical staff to support the mandated functions of the Neighborhood Commission and the neighborhood boards are provided through the Neighborhood Commission Office.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CALL OR WRITE

    Neighborhood Commission Office
    City Hall, Room 406
    530 S. King Street, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
    Telephone: (808) 768-3710 Fax: (808) 768-3711
    E-mail:
nco@honolulu.gov



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Neighborhood Commission Office

Last Reviewed: Tuesday, July 12, 2011