EPRC receives visioning survey results

Utilizing nature-based stormwater solutions and adopting dark sky standards for the urban growth area were the two highest priorities indicated in a survey sponsored by the Eastsound Planning Review Committee. Patty Miller and Steve Smith presented the findings from the survey to the EPRC during its monthly meeting on Dec. 7.

“I am in awe of what you’ve accomplished … I am impressed. I’m really impressed and I’m actually thankful now that I’ve see the results,” said EPRC member Margaret Payne, who was initially against the idea of doing the survey. “My first reading of the survey, I was so pleased to see that the community responses almost exactly matched the recommendations, which tells me that our group did a good job… I’m pleased because I see a general consensus from the vision group to the work groups to the recommendations to the survey responses.”

For 33 days, community members were encouraged to take an online survey about what aspects of the community people were in support or opposed to changing or enhancing. Of the 605 people who started the survey, 388 completed it. The survey grew out of a series of workshops hosted by Fred Klein earlier this year.

The survey included the option to comment on many of the questions, which Smith and EPRC member Paul Kamin said are important to read. There were 65 questions total, 40 of which allowed questions.

“The numbers are significant, but the comments are equally significant,” Kamin said. “You’ve got to put the time in to understand the comments to have the true pulse of the community for any particular question.”

Much of the Thursday meeting was devoted to Smith and Miller explaining how and why they interpreted the data.

“The survey is not perfect. It gives you a whole bunch of information. It is something which you should consider,” Smith said. “But that’s kind of what the job of the EPRC is now, is to take that survey and say, ‘Ok, let’s use that as a data point and let’s interpret that our knowledge and the information we know and go from there.’ It’s not going to be the answer by itself.”

EPRC member Yonatan Aldort presented a list of actionable recommendations the committee could send to the county for review. In the document, Aldort compiled information from what the work groups deemed important and the related support and oppose percentages from the survey. Additionally, he included what specific action must occur for that recommendation to be implemented; whether that is a change of code or capital improvement. The EPRC voted almost unanimously to send Aldort’s document to the county for review; only one member was in opposition.

“At some time we have to stop talking and start doing,” Aldort said. “This is a small list of things to start with that we know have received overwhelming support from all corners.”

To review the survey results and to read taker comments, visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/results/SM-V2FLGWT28/. For Miller and Smith’s report of the data and priority categorization based on respondents’ replies, visit http://eastsoundvision.com/.