Earlier this year the results of the 2010 Decennial Census were released and headlines across the region announced the first increase in DC’s population since 1950.
Across the country, government officials and politicians have been dissecting the data from the 2010 Census to determine new political boundaries based on population shifts. Locally, DC’s eight wards are required by statute to adjust their boundaries so Council members from each ward represent roughly the same number of people.
Closer to home in the Borderstan neighborhoods of Dupont Circle, Logan Circle and U Street, the population change in Dupont was flat, while Logan and U Street saw significant gains in residents. This was not particularly surprising since Dupont saw its building boom in the 1980s and 1990s, while the push to Logan and U Street did not pick up steam until 2000.
Proposed Maps before City Council: ANC 2B/Dupont‘s internal boundaries shifted only a bit with no new seats; ANC 1B (which includes much of the U Street corridor) will gains one seat; and ANC 2F/Logan gains two additional seats. A revamped ANC 2C shifts from being Shaw-centric to a new downtown ANC. A few weeks ago the redistricting task forces submitted their new maps to the DC Council, which is expected to approve them later this month; they will take effect in 2012.
Redistricting Impacts Wards, ANCs and SMDs
At the neighborhood level, DC’s eight wards are divided into Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANC) and then subdivided into smaller Single Member Districts (SMD). Each SMD represents roughly 2,000 residents.
The ANCs and SMDs are also required to adjust their borders by redistricting, based on the census data. ANCs present their positions — usually based on resident input — on issues such as zoning, traffic, liquor licenses, and public safety to various DC agencies and the DC Council.
ANC 2F to Add 2 Seats
In ANC 2F, centered around Logan Circle, the 10-year increase in population was so great that it will require the addition of two new SMDs. (Redistricting did add a handful of blocks the eastern side while sparsely populated areas around the National Mall were transferred to a completely revamped ANC 2C.)
The population growth in some Census tracts in ANC 2F exceeded 30% during the 2000-2010 period. It’s easy to figure out how this happened — the new rental and condo buildings on the 1400 blocks of P and Church Streets NW, plus additional units on the west side of 14th Street and on the 1400 block of Rhode Island Avenue.
In addition to the creation of two new SMDs, the proposed new boundaries for 2F would end at I (“Eye”) Street NW on the southern edge. Currently the ANC’s southern edge in SMD 2F03 is Independence Avenue, which runs along the National Mall. (View the current ANC 2F boundaries at the ANC website.)
“While the ANC, and SMDs, are geographically smaller, they represent more residents. The proposed alignment should make the commission more effective and able to focus on consistent and comparable issues that are important to everyone in the area,” said Michael Benardo, vice chairman of ANC 2F.
The downtown blocks given up would form the western chunk of a reworked ANC 2C associated mostly with the Penn Quarter neighborhood. Much of the current ANC 2C in Shaw will now become part of Ward 6 — part of the District-wide effort to balance ward populations. The 2F proposal also calls for a few blocks around the Convention Center north of Mount Vernon Square to be merged into what is now SMD 2F06.
Confused yet? In a nutshell, the proposed changes gives ANC 2F a geographically smaller footprint, which in turn gives us a Commission focused on local issues. The challenge moving forward is finding residents dedicated to being the voice for their neighbors.
ANC 2F currently has a vacancy in SMD 2F05, the addition of two news SMDs will require three new commissioners. ANC 2F monthly meetings are open to the public and are usually held at 7 pm on the first Wednesday of the month. Unless announced otherwise, the monthly meeting is held in a conference room at the Washington Plaza Hotel.
More About ANCs
For more information related to this story, read Spencer Resigns ANC 1B02 Seat; 2 Seats Remain Vacant in 2F/Logan from August 8.
Some new faces are coming to Borderstan area Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANC). Both ANC 2F in Logan Circle and ANC 1B near 14th and U Streets — each important anchors of the busy 14th Street NW corridor — will see new commissioners this fall.
An ANC is often the first point for residents to express their views on everything from new liquor licenses to commercial development. Hundreds of new condos and apartments are in the development pipeline along 14th Street from N Street north to Clifton Street, making these two ANCs of particular importance. ANCs are divided into smaller Single Member Districts (SMD) and typically represent about 2,000 residents.
Lewin-Zwerdling Files Petition for 1B02
In SMD 1B02 Alexandra Lewin-Zwerdling is the lone candidate to date for the seat formerly occupied by Aaron Spencer. Spencer won the seat in a three-way race last year against Tucker Gallagher and incumbent, Peter Raia. Spencer is moving out of the SMD which created the vacancy. ANC 1B02 runs along U Street from 14th east to 9th, and from S Street on the south to as far north as Florida Avenue in some places.
Lewin-Zwerdling is a public health professional for the U.S. Government and lives with her husband in the 1400 block of Wallach Place. Borderstan contacted Lewin-Zwerdling and asked her why she is interested in representing SMD 1B02.
Lewin-Zwerdling: “I’m running because this neighborhood is home for my husband and me, and it’s where we will raise our family. I am committed to facilitating a strong working relationship between residents and businesses, and creating a safe, livable community. While I lend my utmost support to a thriving neighborhood with an expanding list of local businesses, we are a community of residents and should work with businesses to make sure they are good neighbors. As a public health professional I hear the concerns of residents loud and clear about the need for a range of businesses, including a nearby grocery store.”
The September meeting of ANC 1F took place September 1, about a week before the filing deadline for the SMD position. If no other candidate files, Lewin-Zwerdling will take the post at the next monthly meeting. If another candidate files a timely petition, a special election will decide the winner.
Barron to Take 2F02 Seat
Over in ANC 2F near Logan Circle, Nick Barron is seeking the vacant seat in SMD 2F02. The 2F02 seat was held by Emily Barton, who moved to accept a job outside the area. Barron informed Borderstan over the holiday weekend, that the DC Board of Elections and Ethics gave him confirmation that he would be named the new Commissioner for SMD 2F02, since he was the only candidate to file a petition. He hopes to be sworn in by Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans before the monthly ANC 2F meeting this Wednesday night.
The spot Barron will fill includes the south side of the 1400 block of P Street, the 1300 and 1400 blocks of Rhode Island Avenue, the east side of 15th Street from N to P Streets, N Street from 15th Street east to Vermont Avenue and the west side of Vermont Avenue to Logan Circle. Barron came to D.C. from the Midwest three years ago and lives with his partner on 15th Street NW. Borderstan asked Barron why he wants to represent his SMD.
Nick Barron: “My goal in serving on ANC 2F is to actively seek my neighbors’ input and then do my best at representing the majority opinion to the ANC. If I have an axe to grind it is only that I think too often public officials forget they’re servants of the public, and so I plan to always remember I serve my neighbors, not the other way around.”
The next meeting of ANC 2F will be at 7 pm on Wednesday, September 7, at the Washington Plaza Hotel on Thomas Circle NW. ANC 2F05 has been open since January 1 and no one has filed paperwork for the seat.
Redistricting Will Change SMD Boundaries
The results of the 2010 census showed significant population growth in many SMDs in the 1B and 2F ANCs. DC law requires redistricting every 10 years to balance the number of residents is each SMD — each one must have between 1,900 and 2,100 residents. The area covering 1B02 grew to more than 3,200 residents during the past decade.
It is anticipated that redistricting will also add two additional SMDs to ANC 2F. ANC 1B currently has a staggering 11 SMDs, while ANC 2F has just six. ANC 1B will likely grow to 13 seats — unless it was to be split into two ANCs.
A look at recent developments related to business and politics in the Borderstan area…
Gold Mines on 14th and 11th Streets
Lydia DePillis at Washington City Paper has the details on the effort by Monument Realty and another developer to convince the owners of prime Logan Circle property to sell. The townhouses on 14th between Riggs and S Streets NW and another grouping at 11th and N Streets NW — perhaps best known as textbook examples of bad 1970s architecture — were built as affordable rental properties and then sold to residents in 1998 for bargain prices. The developer’s plans for redevelopment hinge on whether the parcels may be rezoned for higher density and the vote of condominium association members who are being offered top dollar for their homes.
Monument is offering the current owners six or seven times the price they paid almost 10 years ago in order to take over the property, demolish the buildings and redevelop it. 14th & You has a great assessment of the article. “‘We’re living on a gold mine!’ one resident protested. ‘You can live on the gold mine for the rest of your life!’ said Monument’s Josh Olsen… ‘You’re not going to get gold out of the gold mine unless you sell!’ ”