The D.C. Council gave a green light to new boundaries for the city’s most localized districts Tuesday, moving closer to finalizing a yearlong redrawing process that will add two new representatives to Foggy Bottom’s flagship neighborhood group.
The Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission – the community’s top advocacy group that serves as a liaison to District agencies on matters including traffic, safety, land use planning and liquor licenses – will not see changes to its outer boundary lines but the reshuffling plan breaks up its single-member districts to create two new subdivisions, forming eight total commissioner spots.
Single-member districts, each represented by a commissioner, split wards into smaller, individual constituencies.
The maps must receive a second approval from the council next month, offering time for technical changes like fine-tuning descriptions of each border.
The two-year nonpartisan posts are unpaid. Elections for the two new commissioners will be held Nov. 6.
Commissioners must reside in an address within the single-member district they represent. Students will be the only residents in a new single-member district along the eastern edge of campus and bordered by Pennsylvania Avenue – meaning a student will likely hold the commissioner seat. ANC 3D, which American University falls under, will also see an all-student single member district.
City officials are reviewing adjustments to the boundaries for its nearly 40 Advisory Neighborhood Commissions after completing the redistricting process for D.C.’s eight wards last summer. Andrew Huff, director of communications for Ward 2 D.C. Council member Jack Evans – who co-chaired the council’s subcommittee on redistricting – called the process a “mixed bag.”
“There are places where some ANCs are gaining commissioners and some are losing commissioners. There are some brand new ANCs,” he said.
Realignments began after 2010 census data revealed a 5.2 percent hike in the District’s population over the previous decade, growing from 572,059 people to 601,723.
The census tallied college students as D.C. residents for the first time that year, rather than counting students under their home states. Ward 2, where GW sits, reached 79,915 people in a 16 percent boost – the largest jump in population among all of D.C.’s eight wards.
Students at the University make up about 39 percent of Foggy Bottom and the West End’s population, according to the redistricting task force’s final report.
Alumnus and commissioner Asher Corson, who was elected to the ANC during his senior year in 2006, said he does not think a student representative would dramatically change the dynamic of the group. Corson also worked on the redistricting task force.
“Anyone that lives in the [single-member district] and qualifies can run: professors, students, anybody,” he said. “It is my sincere belief that the more students are involved in groups like the ANC, those students will realize that their interests are well-aligned with the rest of the community.”
Assistant Vice President for Government and Community Relations Renee McPhatter said the University has a good working relationship with the ANC.
“GW was represented on the sub-committee, comprised of community stakeholders and ANC commissioners that worked on the re-districting for ANC 2A,” she said.