CHELSEA — Community Board 4 picked up eight new members this week, including a well-known Catholic priest, an attorney and an executive coach.
The new members will join the active board, which weighs in on everything from local liquor licenses to massive new developments at its regular committee meetings and monthly full board meetings.
Several new members said they were concerned about rising rent prices in the increasingly expensive area, particularly in Hell's Kitchen, as well as issues facing the neighborhood's aging population.
"Housing is an important issue," said George Santana, 42, an attorney who is returning to the board after being a member in 1989.
"I work at a volunteer legal clinic, and 80 to 85 percent of the people that come in are there to talk all about housing."
Keith Fennessy, the pastor at St. Columba Church on West 25th Street, said he had a more general interest in joining the board.
"We're a very diverse church, there's a big cross-section of the neighborhood that comes here, so it's good to be involved with local comings and goings," the 60-year-old Fennessy said.
"Obviously, we have a big commitment to kids, but there's a lot of issues that affect our people — for the elderly, transportation is important, but also general quality of life."
Fennessy also has some community board experience, serving on Community Board 2 in Greenwich Village from 1997 to 2007 while he worked at Old St. Patrick's Cathedral. The lifelong New Yorker said he's spent most of his life focused on issues affecting Downtown Manhattan.
"I grew up in Stuy Town, so my definition of upstate New York is anything north of 59th Street," he said.
Other new members include Tanya Odum, an executive coach at the Future Work Institute; Brad Pascarella, a managing partner at construction firm Chelsea22; and Eric Latzky, the former head of communications for the New York Philharmonic.
Of the 550 people who applied to be on Manhattan Community Boards, 76 new members were appointed by elected officials, according to Borough President Scott Stringer's office.