ANC/SMD Redistricting for Ward 1 — The Four ANC/Status Quo Scenario
I was at a meeting recently where the Ward 1 ANC redistricting was discussed. In the course of those conversations there was something that struck me. While redistricting is basically a numbers game (trying to get each single member district as close to 2,000 as possible within a 5% deviation), it is also about communities and their representation. Or, as one person said to me more poignantly, the “N” in ANC stands for neighborhood.
In this context where the emphasis is placed primarily on providing neighborhood’s and their communities representation, I have to say that in my opinion a Georgia Avenue focused ANC does not make sense to me. While dividing Ward 1 into five ANCs is an elegant plan on paper (and works as I’ve shown), in practice it would de-emphasis neighborhood representation and sever communities that have long-standing and natural affinities to each other. While development along Lower Georgia Avenue is an important issue, it would likely be the only real issue the neighborhoods along it would have in common … and I don’t think one common interest is enough to cobble together a new ANC.
So, taking all of that into consideration, I decided to see what the Ward could look like if the Ward 1 ANC/SMD Task Force recommends keeping our current ANC boundaries as close to the old borders as possible. Again, this is just guess-work and one of many ways this could be accomplished.
- Commission of 11 members (currently 11).
- Possible changes: East of Georgia Avenue the block north of Hobart Place could be moved from 1B to 1A. Similarly, the block bordered by Columbia Road, Sherman Avenue, Harvard Street, and 11th Street could be moved from 1A to 1B.
- Problems: In this version, ANC 1A11 is above the 2,100 limit with 2,136 residents.
- Keeps Park View and northern Columbia Heights together. While the two neighborhoods do have different needs, many of the issues they are facing are similar and residents of Park View do tend to embrace Columbia Heights (and Petworth to the north) as part of their immediate community.
- Commission of 12 members (currently 11).
- Possible changes: Other than the changes mentioned above in the 1A description, the area north of Meridian Hill Park and west of 15th Street could go to 1C.
Overall, this one works well and respects ANC 1B’s resent vote to keep their Commission boundaries intact.
- Commission of 9 members (currently 8).
- Chief benefits: Kept intact with minor expansion to the east (see 1B description).
- Commission of 5 members (currently 6).
- Problems: Mt. Pleasant is such a tightly defined neighborhood it is impossible to expand it without fragmenting one of its neighboring communities. It is also largely defined by natural geography. Lastly, Mt. Pleasant’s well known boundaries coincide with the Mt. Pleasant Historic District as well as MPD’s Police Service Area 301. Lastly, the size and shape of census blocks, along with location of apartment buildings and population based on the 2010 census makes it impossible to divide ANC 1D into five SMDs with the desired population. In the map below, two SMD exceed 2,100. One is 2,103 and the other is 2,183. Due to geography and neighborhood cohesiveness, these SMDs could be successfully proposed.