Chapel Hillians on Growth

Most voters in Chapel Hill are happy with the rate at which the community is growing.

57% of respondents on our recent poll said that it is growing at 'about the right pace' while 37% think it is growing too fast and only 3% think it is growing too slow.

Interestingly this does not seem to have been an issue that created a big split among voters in the Mayoral contest.  59% of Czajkowski voters said the current rate of growth is fine, as did 54% of Kleinschmidt supporters.

Conservatives were more likely than liberals or moderates to say the community is growing too fast, a finding at odds with the usual assumptions about who supports higher rates of growth.

Most of those polled would like the community to stay roughly at its current size.  41% of respondents said that 25 years from now they would still like the town's population to be between 50-60,000.  25% said they'd like to see modest growth to the 60-70,000 range and 15% said they'd like to see it contract to the 40-50,000 range.  10% would like to see the population expand to 70,000 or more and 9% would like to see it drop even further back to the 30-40,000 range. 

Chapel Hill's population is projected to be around 80,000 by 2030-2035 so most residents will be disappointed by the likely rate of growth over the next few decades. 

Probably the two most controversial developments in Chapel Hill over the last five years for which construction is under way are Greenbridge and East 54.  In a finding speaking to how little attention most citizens pay attention to the debate over various new developments a 45% plurality of Chapel Hillians have no opinion one way or the other about whether Greenbridge will be a good thing for the town.  35% believe it will be a positive while 20% think it will be a negative.

Voters have stronger opinions about East 54 with 38% labeling it as a bad thing for Chapel Hill to 36% who consider it to be a positive.  In an interesting twist Czajkowski voters think it's good while Kleinschmidt backers think it's bad even though Czajkowski has spoken out against it while Kleinschmidt supported it on Council and received the support of its developer, Roger Perry, in his campaign.

Finally we asked if people generally support the Council's vision of growth 'focused on dense, mixed use developments along transit corridors.'  56% said yes to 22% no. Overall growth seems to be an issue where voters are happy with the direction of the Council.  Soon we'll release the numbers on downtown and taxation, which show more discontent.

Full results here 


Thanks, Tom!

A few things:For the questions I heard I answered "yes" or "no" although my true answer (for some of them) would have been "not sure" had I known it was an option.  Before a string of questions with those options I think it'd be good if the listener heard that those would be the options, unless that's how it was already and I just missed it.  Maybe I was too quick, but when I heard "press 1 for yes, press 2 for no," or whatever it was, I did it instead of waiting for a third option.The population question confused me and I bet it did others too.  I have a hard time getting a feel for what 60 or 70 or 90 K would be in the future.  I think instead of that, making the options something like, "none," "a little," "some," or "a lot" would be better. Lastly, a poll like that by necessity has to be somewhat simplistic and ask one question at a time but realistically I think the answers will often contradict.  The classic example is Q: Do you want service X? A: :Yes, and then Q: Do you want to raise taxes?  A: No.  The two contradict.  Service X costs money so either you raise taxes or else you don't get Service X.  That reasoning can be applied to lots of things.  I'm just saying that that can limit the interpretations of the poll results.  If people say the like X it could be because they like X in any context or it could be because they like X in the context where the choice is X or not X.


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