Frequently Asked Questions About ANCs and How to Do Business With ANC 1A
What’s an Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC)?
- An ANC is a non-partisan neighborhood body made up of locally elected representatives called Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners. They are a unique feature of the District of Columbia’s Home Rule Charter.
What are the responsibilities of Commissioners?
- The ANCs’ main job is to be their neighborhoods’ official voice in advising the District government (and Federal agencies) on things that affect their neighborhoods. Although they are not required to follow the ANCs’ advice, District agencies are required by law to give the ANCs’ recommendations “great weight.” Moreover, District law says that agencies cannot take any action that will significantly affect a neighborhood unless they give the affected ANCs 30 days’ advance notice. This includes issues related to zoning, streets, recreation, education, social services, sanitation, planning, safety, budget, and health services.
- The ANCs also initiate recommendations for improving city services, conduct neighborhood improvement programs, and monitor resident complaints. The ANCs began operating in 1976.
How many ANCs are there in the District?
- There are 37 ANCs. Each of the 8 Wards of the District is divided into ANCs, and each ANC is divided into a number of smaller areas called Single Member Districts (SMDs). One Commissioner is elected in each SMD, which consists of about 2,000 people. Although the SMDs must have roughly equal populations, ANCs may vary in size. The biggest ANCs (such as ANC 1A) have 12 SMDs while the smallest has just 2. There are currently 286 SMDs citywide. The number of ANCs, their size, and boundaries may change as a result of the 2020 Census.
When and where does ANC 1A meet?
- ANC 1A meets the second Wednesday of the month at 7:00 PM in the gymnasium of the Harriet Tubman Elementary School. The school is located at 3101 13th Street NW, but the gymnasium is accessed more easily through the small parking lot on the Kenyon Street side of the school.
I have a concern about something in my community. Can I make a comment or a complaint to the full Commission about it?
- Yes. As provided by DC Code Subchapter V, §1-309.11(b)(3), “Each Commission shall set aside a portion of each public meeting to hear the views of residents within the Commission area and other affected persons on problems or issues of concern within the Commission area and on proposed District government actions that affect the Commission area. Community views shall be adequately considered in positions taken by the Commission . . .”
- ANC 1A values community input and provides time at the beginning of each public meeting for constituents and “other affected persons” to express their views and concerns, ask questions, or make complaints. Each person is limited to one minute, to provide a fair opportunity for all to speak and still allow the Commission to conduct its necessary business. We ask that each speaker provide for the public record her/his name, address and what organization s/he is representing, if any.
How do I bring business before ANC 1A?
- If you wish to make an announcement at the monthly meeting, you are welcome to do so during the “community announcements” portion of the meeting, which is typically the first item at the beginning of the agenda. Announcements are limited to one minute.
- If you have a business item (such as a liquor license application) you’d like to bring before the ANC (as distinguished from a concern or complaint), you should contact the commissioner of jurisdiction to be added to the agenda and discuss the action. Before you come to the public meeting, you should also meet with any relevant committee of jurisdiction and be sure to meet with the community association(s) that is (are) affected by your action item.
- This means that you should allow at least one to two months for discussion and review with the Commissioner and Committees of jurisdiction before bringing your issue to the full Commission. Public notice of the agenda is given one week in advance of the monthly meeting and therefore agenda items cannot be added less than one week before a meeting. Generally at least three to four weeks notice is required to add items to the agenda.
- If you have a business item that requires urgent attention or is of an emergency nature, you should immediately contact the commissioner of jurisdiction and ask her/him to work with you and the Chairperson of the commission to schedule consideration by the appropriate committee and the full commission.
What is the “commissioner of jurisdiction” and how do I know who that is?
- If you want the commission to consider and support your application before any DC government agency, you should contact the commissioner within whose district your business, construction project, or other activity is located. That commissioner is the commissioner of jurisdiction. See the answer to the next question to find out how to identify that commissioner.
How do I determine who my commissioner is?
- If you do not know what district you live in, or where your business or project is located, please visit this site to determine your SMD.
- Once you know what SMD you live in you can determine your commissioner by checking the Commissioner Contact List.
What if I want to ask a question or make a comment about an issue the Commission is considering, such as a liquor license application or a zoning issue, and I didn’t think of it in time for the public comment period at the beginning of the meeting?
- We welcome and encourage public comment and questions at appropriate points in the meeting. Normally, we will ask for public comment on issues on the Commission’s agenda before a motion to take official action is voted on.
What about making a presentation on an event, community service or project, or issue?
- Community organizations and government agencies sometimes make presentations to the Commission. Presentations are limited to five minutes in length. They should be on a topic of direct impact, concern or interest to the residents of ANC 1A. They must be scheduled through the Chairperson of the Commission. Go to the Commissioner contact page for contact information on the current Chairperson of the Commission.
I hear ANC 1A makes grants to community organizations. How do I apply?
- ANC 1A does provide funds for community projects directly benefiting the residents of ANC 1A, as long as they do not duplicate services already provided by the District of Columbia government. The current policies and procedures regarding community grants can be found on our grants page.