Georgetown’s ANC: Evolving, Inclusive

Advisory neighborhood commissioners Mara Goldman, Ed Solomon, Joe Gibbons, Jim Wilcox, Richard Murphy, Monica Roache, Lisa Palmer and Zac Schroepfer flank the soon-to-retire Metropolitan Police Department Officer Antonial Atkins, honored Sept. 6 for his years of service to Georgetown and Washington, D.C. Photo by Robert Devaney.

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E, which represents Georgetown, Burleith and Hillandale, is one of six ANCs in Ward 2 and one of 41 ANCs in the District’s eight wards, a structure initiated in 1974.

The Georgetown ANC has eight elected commissioners who have staggered two-year terms. Commissioners campaign and are elected on ballots during regular biannual elections in November. Since the District has no votes in Congress, these elections sometimes take on the fervor of those for D.C.’s sole governing body, the District Council. 

The 2016 election saw a changing of the guard, with three commissioners retiring and one losing his seat to a challenger. 

“For the most part, I always follow the lead of the ANC,” Council member Jack Evans told The Georgetowner. “I was an ANC Commissioner and chair of the Dupont Circle ANC a long time ago. I know how they work. I almost always vote the way they recommend.”

The ANCs do have power, if only in an advisory capacity. Each works closely with the ward’s Council member — in Ward 2’s case, for the past 26 years, Jack Evans.  

In addition, the ANCs are key components of D.C.’s local planning process, getting a first and often crucial say in whether and how residential and commercial development proposals move ahead. Their purview ranges from major projects — like the planned conversion to condos of the West Heating Plant in Georgetown — to requests from restaurateurs to put out sidewalk seating.  

As a result, the meetings of Georgetown’s ANC, among others, have become increasingly inclusive. Its chairman Joe Gibbons sees to that.

Reports from the Metropolitan Police Department, the Departments of Transportation and Public Works — regarding traffic, parking and street lighting issues — and the mayor’s office are frequently on the agenda. There are also regular reports from the Georgetown Business Improvement District, the Citizens Association of Georgetown and, starting this year, the Georgetown Business Association.  

Each commissioner not only represents a certain area — usually near where he or she lives — but also takes responsibility for a specific issue, such as transportation or crime. Citizens are encouraged to email their commissioners at their ANC addresses about concerns. Often, they take a hands-on approach, such as when two commissioners and one of their dogs physically stopped the unauthorized pouring of a cement-like product onto a stretch of brick sidewalk recently.

“For the most part, I always follow the lead of the ANC,” Council member Jack Evans told The Georgetowner. “I was an ANC Commissioner and chair of the Dupont Circle ANC a long time ago. I know how they work. I almost always vote the way they recommend.”

Though the Georgetown ANC is considered one of the city’s most collegial, that’s not to say there are no heated debates. Earlier this year, the question of whether to remove 48 parking places from the waterfront area to establish designated bike lanes consumed an impassioned half-hour. 

3265 S St. NW
Washington, DC 20007

Meeting Location
Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School
Heritage Room, 2nd Floor
1524 35th St. NW

Meetings are held on the first Monday of the month (with occasional exceptions) at 6:30 p.m. There is no August meeting. There will be two meetings in October, on Oct. 2 and 30, and no meeting in November.

There used to be some friction at ANC meetings connected with Georgetown University’s acquisition of residential property for administrative offices and an increase in student rentals of off-campus housing. But since then, the ANC added two student representatives and the commission, the university and neighbors created the Georgetown Community Partnership to address mutual concerns. 

According to the current campus representatives, Mara Goldman and Zachary Schroepfer, many formerly contentious issues are now dealt with by both town and gown officials early on, before they become heated.  

Since Leslie Maysak left ANC 2E last year, later becoming executive director of the Citizens Association of Georgetown, the commission has shared the services of Peter Sacco as executive director (he also serves ANC 2A and ANC 2B in this capacity). Along with keeping track of meetings and agenda issues, Sacco updates the newly redesigned website and handles email and social media.  

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