A draft plan for the District’s first redrawing of ward boundaries in a decade was released this evening, and, as expected, the most dramatic changes are to Wards 6 and 7.
The “Hill East” neighborhood is likely to be split between those wards. Under the draft plan, the boundary between the two wards would move west from the Anacostia River to 17th Street between Benning Road NE and Pennsylvania Avenue SE. In a small but significant victory for Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), who has strongly objected to the possibility of losing part of his ward, the drafters carved out the blocks containing Eastern High School and Eliot-Hine Middle School to remain in Wells’s ward. (The Post’s Bill Turque explained yesterday why this is notable.)
On the western side of Ward 6, it stands to gain from Ward 2 the Shaw neighborhood, east of 9th Street — with the notable exception of the Washington Convention Center at the southern end, which remains in Ward 2.
The plan was drafted by a special redistricting committee led by Michael A. Brown (I-At Large), with Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) and Phil Mendelson (D-At Large). On Thursday, the committee members will vote to approve the plan, which will then be sent for a full council vote . A public hearing on the plan is set for 6 p.m. on June 1 at the John A. Wilson Building. Those who wish to testify can call (202) 724-8198 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.
Expect to hear lots of griping there from Ward 6ers, who rallied Tuesday evening to prevent the sort of move in the draft plan. Brian Flahaven, an advisory neighborhood commissioner who helped organize the rally, said he was concerned a 17th Street line would “hurt the collective voice in the neighborhood.” He also noted that the community uproar against an encroachment into Ward 6 has been more pronounced than in Ward 5.
The problem the drafters had to solve was that Ward 8 is smaller than the margins allowed under District law, while Ward 2 is larger. In between those two are Wards 5 and 6, meaning at least one of the two had to change. Only Ward 6 changed appreciably. Ward 5 saw only a slight change at its southwest corner, while wards 1, 3, and 4 changed not at all. Ward 8 gained population by absorbing the eastern portion of the Fairlawn neighborhood that had been part of Ward 7. Despite lobbying from its Council member, Marion Barry (D), it did not cross the Anacostia River.
Here is a map of the likely new Ward 6: