ANC/SMD Redistricting for Ward 1 — The Five ANC Scenario

If Ward 1 were divided into 5 ANCs, this map shows one possible way to do it. Blue lines are current borders and red lines would be new borders (Click to enlarge)

People active in the community or on area listervs are sure to be aware that the District’s Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANC) — and the Single Member Districts (SMD) within them — are in the process of redistricting based on the 2010 census. Ideally, each SMD should have a population of approximately 2,000 residents ±5% (creating an ideal range of 1,900 to 2,100).

The Ward One Task Force for ANC/SMD Restricting first convened on August 2, 2011, to meet with the public and begin exploring how to balance ANC representation of the Ward equitably. The next task force meeting will be on September 13th (time and place TBD) and the entire process needs to be completed by October 12th. With the short amount of time for the process to be completed, public comment and discussion has begun on some listservs and at community meetings.

One of the loudest voices commenting on the redistricting process has been Mt. Pleasant Commissioner Jack McKay (1D03). Prior to the first task force meeting, McKay suggested that ANC 1D expand east to 14th Street to address his concerns of 1D being too small and 1B being too large. His initial map can be seen here.  In response to McKay’s map, Park View Commissioner Kent Boese (1A08) suggested that a five ANC Ward be considered as an alternative for the task force to consider. A rough map of his initial idea can be seen here. McKay has adopted this idea within a four ANC framework and has proposed this map using 11th Street as the eastern border of a combined 1A/1D.

While reception of the creation of a Georgia Avenue focused eastern ANC has been mixed (ANC 1B unanimously voted to keep their current borders and a commission of 13 SMDs on August 4th), the idea has taken hold among some spheres prompting me to explore its feasibility here. The task force similarly is in the process of drafting solutions for both four and five ANC scenarios to present to the public for comment.

I’m sharing the outcome of my work here to see how others feel about the possibility of an ANC 1E vs. maintaining the Wards current structure.

In my exercise I worked within the following parameters:

  • I chose a Ward 1 with five ANCs
  • I attempted to keep existing borders when possible.
  • I attempted to keep major commercial arteries within one ANC.
  • I honored neighborhood borders and attempted to kept them together as much as possible.
  • Lastly, I refused to split any census blocks (but the task force is empowered to do this).

While I see the advantage of an ANC having an odd number of commissioners, I didn’t think it was necessary and found it to be impossible to achieve everywhere once I began to create SMDs, so I ceased attempting it.

I learned one thing right off the bat. Redistricting IS NOT EASY. Every time I thought I had a solution I had to start over. So I genuinely appreciate the members of the task force and what they’ve been charged to do. For those wanting to look at the base maps with current ANC/SMD borders and population by blocks, you can get those maps online here>>

Below are the maps I came up with for each ANC with SMD designations. I can’t emphasis enough that these maps are not official and that I’m not a member of the task force or privy to what they are thinking. I’m also not familiar with every neighborhood and drew the lines as well as I could to get everything within the 1,900-2,100 range and see if this is a workable solution. I’m sure there are other good solutions and am looking forward to seeing what the task force  and others comes up with.


  • Commission of 8 members (currently 11).
  • Chief benefits: Represents northern Columbia Heights without fragmenting neighborhood representation further. Keeps 14th Street and 11th Street corridors within one ANC north of Harvard.

While this one works, it only works with the population on the high side for each SMD.

Possible ANC 1A (Click to enlarge)


  • Commission of 9 members (currently 11).
  • Chief benefits: Focus is on southern Columbia Heights and northern Shaw. By moving SMDs from southeastern 1C, all of Ward 1’s U Street corridor is within one ANC as is the southern section of 14th Street.

Overall, this one works well.

Possible ANC 1B (Click to enlarge)


  • Commission of 7 members (currently 8).
  • Chief benefits: Kept largely intact and keeps 18th Street and Columbia Road business corridors within one ANC.
  • Chief concerns: cedes areas south of Florida and north of Quarry to neighboring ANCs.

Possible ANC 1C (Click to enlarge)


  • Commission of 6 members (currently 6).
  • Chief benefits: Maintains Mt. Pleasant street corridor and expands slightly to the south with the new southern border of Quarry Road/Columbia Road.

The long and the short of it —  I found it impossible to divide ANC 1D into five equal SMDs based on its current population due to large apartment buildings & census blocks. The most logical solution was to expand slightly to the south which also maintains a six member commission for 1D.

Possible ANC 1D (Click to enlarge)


  • Commission of 7 members (currently non-existent).
  • Chief benefits: Reunites the Pleasant Plains neighborhood, unites communities around Howard University, and unites all communities along Lower Georgia Avenue.

The chief question here is whether the Georgia Avenue corridor can be better served in one ANC or in two neighboring ANCs working together.

Possible ANC 1E (Click to enlarge)


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4 Comments on “ANC/SMD Redistricting for Ward 1 — The Five ANC Scenario”

  1. Denis James Says:

    ANC 1C’s census count is just 2 persons less in 2010 than in 2000, very stable. ANC 1D lost population to the point where it will lose an SMD. Both these neighborhoods, Adams Morgan and Mt. Pleasant, are well-defined, with natural barriers like Rock Creek Park, the National Zoo or Ward boundaries, thus creating little possibility for change, and then only by going over lines that are well-defined neighborhood boundaries.
    On the east side of Ward One, there are different issues of less clearly defined neighborhoods and the advisability of creating a 5th ANC from the large ANC 1A and 1B. Seeing the north-south new proposal for this new 1E, my immediate impressions is that it’s too long geographically – folks in the north and folks in the south will have little in common.

  2. Dave Says:

    I had a similar impression of the proposed 1E, that it is stretches too far north and south, and therefore, pulls in too many different neighborhoods with divergent interests and concerns. For example, why should the residents around Howard University or the GA Avenue and U Street area have a voice in a liquor license application for a proposed restaurant in the northern porion of Park View, say on the 3600 block of Georgia Avenue. Likewise, why should the residents of Park View have a voice in a hypothetical request for a sidewalk cafe on U Street. The neighborhoods may have GA Avenue in common, but that’s it. GA Avenue is a very long street with many different neighborhoods and community concerns and interests.

    • Alan Says:

      I agree with Dave. The issues facing Southern part of GA ave. are totally different then the northern part of the district. I feel for the first time Parkview is getting the feel of its own area, the GA ave ANC would set this back.

  3. […] make sense to me. While dividing Ward 1 into five ANCs is an elegant plan on paper (and works as I’ve shown), it would de-emphasis neighborhood representation and sever communities that have long-standing […]

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