On March 1, the Ward 6 Redistricting Task Force met to discuss potential revisions to the maps after last week’s public comment meeting including the Navy Yard ‘notch’ section of ward 6 that is potentially slated to become part of a joint Ward 6-Ward 8 ANC.
It is the third time that the task force members convened via Zoom to discuss plans for upcoming redistricting of the District. The aim is to create single member districts (SMDs) with 1,900-2,100 residents and limit the scope of change to current Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) and SMD boundaries where effective.
The members also want to balance the workloads and resources of the ANCs, avoid splitting census blocks, recognize neighborhood cohesiveness and population balancing and utilize natural features such as parks when drawing boundaries.
A Potential Combined ANC
Task Force chairman Ivan Frishberg spoke about the ongoing dialogue between Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen (D) and Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White, Sr. (D) as well as between their appointed redistricting task forces about the ‘notch’ section of Ward 6.
A proposal considered by both wards would combine a ‘notch’ portion of Ward 6 into one two-ward ANC, with portions of the Navy Yard neighborhood, newly-added to Ward 8. If this happens, it will also alter the 6D redistricting plan, as the areas currently identified as SMDs 6D09 and 6D10 will go into the joint ANC.
“We did receive word from Councilmember Allen and Councilmember White in Ward 8 that there is a desire to see a map that is a new Navy Yard commission,” Frishberg said. “We requested that the Office of Planning (OP) give us some assistance in giving those census blocks over to Ward 8.”
Changes to the Maps
Many changes and edits were made to the Ward 6 maps following the public feedback session last week. The public feedback centered around concerns about the redistricting guidelines, specifically neighborhood cohesiveness, minority representation and issues surrounding boundaries of natural features such as parks.
The new map addresses several of the concerns from last week’s meeting including addressing split blocks in ANC 6D, reducing the number of SMDs in ANC 6C, adding one SMD to ANC 6E, incorporating a minority single member district (SMD) into ANC 6B and drawing the duck pond back into 6D03.
Matthew Oberstaedt, one of the task force members assigned to 6D, said the group spent many hours working to make the maps work for all residents in Ward 6. While they were able to make several adjustments to their draft maps, he said not everything could be included.
“There are so many different requests and ideas and criteria to consider that it’s actually impossible to do everything in one map,” Oberstaedt said.
Frishberg said he feels that the task force is getting significantly closer to having final drafts of the redistricting maps. He emphasized, however, the need for an additional meeting next week to continue discussion and include time again for public comment.
“I think we’re getting a lot closer,” Frishberg said. “I think we got a lot closer in a relatively short period of time and we’re going to have to have another meeting tacked on to the end of this.”
The task force is officially scheduled to meet again in two weeks on March 15 at 7:00 p.m. for final approval of the maps. You can read more about redistricting and register to attend the meeting here. You can email comments about the redistricting plan and maps to Ward6RedistrictingTaskForce@gmail.com.
Sarah Payne is a general assignment reporter for the Hill Rag. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.