If you’ve been reading this blog, you know just how often equitable change to a neighborhood hinges on local decision makers and groups. In DC, ANCs are at the center of many of those decisions, and frankly we need more commissioners who are willing to work towards solutions with their constituents while also prioritizing the overarching needs of a growing city.
In November, voters will choose their Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner (ANC). These hyper-local elected officials get a seat at the table when it comes to guiding how each DC neighborhood grows and makes decisions that directly impact current residents.
GGWash is hosting a second workshop on Monday, July 9 to educate and equip interested neighbors who think they might want to run for ANC. We had more than 35 people come to the first one, and there's already a lot of interest in the second. If you want to attend, RSVP below!
What's an ANC anyway?
DC’s is governed by the mayor and a council of 13 members, eight of whom serve individual wards. Those eight wards are broken down even further into districts called Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs).
There are 40 ANCs total, and each ANC is segmented even further into Single Member Districts (SMDs), which elect an unpaid, volunteer ANC Commissioner to represent their interests for a period of two years at a time. These single-member districts are supposed to encompass 2,000 voters, but with changing neighborhoods constituent populations can vary widely. Check out ancfinder.org to find your own ANC/SMD and explore the ANCs around you.
ANCs meet monthly to vote on a variety of issues, passing resolutions and maintaining a regular space for residents to address changes and debate. Others organize committees of residents to evaluate and weigh in on different issues. Legally ANC resolutions are not law, but carry what is defined as “great weight” in other DC government agencies and processes. However, the informal power of ANCs is far reaching, and the relationships commissioners build within the DC government and with top elected officials are influential.
For urbanists, ANCs play a particularly important role shaping and managing the growth of neighborhoods. Most developments, road and transit improvements come before the ANC for debate and a vote. Commissions are also instrumental in bargaining for developing community benefits packages in larger Planned Unit Developments (PUDs), and in general are the official venue for where these development and growth conversations project by project.
A quick test: do you…
- … walk the neighborhood and constantly think of why it's great and how it could be better?
- ... enjoy talking with your neighbors and solving problems with them?
- ... love digging into the details, working to a consensus, and being a decision maker?
- ... want to get more involved in serving and shaping your neighborhood?
- ... want to dip your toe into elected leadership to try it out, or just aren't ready yet to run for a higher level office?
If you answered yes to any of the above, you should consider running for ANC, and at the very least come to our second workshop. We'll discuss best practices for running a campaign and get you the tools you need before the petition deadline in August. ANCs need more people like you!
Join us on Monday, July 9 at our offices near Metro Center from 7-9 pm. Click the button below for more details and to RSVP.
Mark your calendars for some other great events coming up on Tuesday, July 10:
Prince George's zoning code rewrite: As we've written about extensively, Prince George's County is redoing its zoning code. Now the county is hosting a work session at the Council Administration Building, First Floor Hearing Room, 14741 Gov. Oden Bowie Dr, Upper Marlboro, MD at 7:30 pm.
Landscape architect awards: The 2018 Professional Landscape Architecture Awards are here, showcasing local design excellence in parks, courtyards, plazas, historic landscapes, and the public realm. Celebrate the region's architects at the District Architecture Center, 421 7th Street NW from 6:30-8 pm. Or you can check out the free ongoing exhibit that's open now until Friday, August 31.