What’s an ANC Commissioner?
The District is divided up into 38 neighborhoods. Each neighborhood is divided up into Single Member Districts (SMD), comprised of 2,000 residents. Voters in each Single Member District elect a Commissioner to represent them on their neighborhood Commission. The job is unpaid, and the duties are to advise the Mayor, Council, and the DC bureaucracy about neighborhood matters.
Our Dupont Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC 2B) is made up of nine Single Member Districts, representing about 18,000 residents as of the last census. We advise the D.C. government on matters such public space use, historic preservation, transportation projects. and the law says agencies must give our opinions “great weight.” Court decisions have defined “great weight” as meaning they don’t have to agree with us, but need say they have considered our advice and must give a reason when they don’t agree.
Much of what we do is serving as the eyes and ears of the District government. For example, when a local business applies for use of public space for a sidewalk cafe, DDOT asks us to eyeball the property and make certain there’s enough pedestrian passageway and not any tree boxes or other obstacles that may not be clearly noted on the application.