Survey: We’re Growing Too Fast

The results of Albemarle County’s latest citizen survey look pretty good, WINA reports. UVa’s Center for Survey Research surveyed hundreds of Albemarle County residents via telephone, as they did in 2002 and 2004, and this year’s results seem to be a lot like prior results. Ninety one percent of people are happy with county services, and 85% believe they’re getting a good value for their tax payments. I think the most interesting numbers are those about growth: 64% believe that the county is growing too fast, and just a teeny tiny minority — 3.4%, or approximately the number of employees at the Chamber of Commerce — support faster growth.

October 13 Update: Lee Catlin provides the summary results and the entire report, which is really, really detailed. Who wants to dig into the internals of this poll?

15 Responses to “Survey: We’re Growing Too Fast”


  • I think it would have better to know how long those people who thought we are growing too quickly have lived here.
    I have found that people who have lived here for less then 5 years are the most vocal. While we may be growing too fast it has always bothered me. “Hey, I just moved here. You need to stop growing right now!”

  • I’m hoping that the county will put the survey on their website soon. Right now we have only a single, brief radio story. The internals of this poll should be interesting.

    The people I know who feel strongly about this have lived here for most or all of their life. But I suspect that we just know different people. :)

  • The people I know who feel strongly about this have lived here for most or all of their life.

    I have respect for long time residents, whatever their opinion. It’s the inverse relationship between how long someone has lived here and how anti-growth they seem that I find ironic.

    I believe that growth is a problem, so we agree on that. It’s the tenor of the debate that worries me.

    “It’s so crowded nobody goes there any more.” Yogi Berra

  • My wife’s family has lived here for many generations, and she’s so ardently anti-growth she’s not sure I should live here, since I moved here as a child. :)

  • Waldo – my wife’s family has been here for some time as well, and she voices similar opinions about me. Some days more than others :)

  • Who doesn’t complain about rapid growth, aside from builders, economic development types, developers and real estate agents? (No offense, Jim!)

  • Part of me thinks that 16 yrs here is a long time and entitles me to a strong anti- growth opinion- until I read something from someone who feels that 6 yrs here is a long time and I find myself LOL. There is a difference between how you feel about a place where your family has lived for generations and how you feel about where you may end up living a long time- I still hope to die where I came from :)>. And I care deeply about the community where I have raised my family.

  • Gail – don’t feel bad. I’ve been here for almost 20 years and my wife still thinks of me as an outsider. :)

    ratboy – no offense taken. :) I like to think that I am outspoken enough to not be stereotyped by any of the typical groupings.

    What is most aggravating to me is those who feel that we should close the door to all comers – as soon as they have moved in. This is a great place to live – with plenty of challenges. How we manage the growth is a much more fruitful conversation with more potential for cogent proposals and solutions than “how we stop growth in its tracks?”

  • I’m always curious about the number of children people have. World population is growing, yet we never equate the personal choice to more than replace ourselves with the driving need for development. I’d love to see how the statistics correlate there and how high the irony factor is.

    If my multi-generational land-owning relatives in Pennsylvania are any yardstick, many long-term land-owners intend to keep their x-acres of personal land and hope to retire on however much they can get for the remainder. If it doesn’t significantly impact their retirement income, they prefer to pass it on to children so maybe they can retire on the increased land value. It’s a multi-generational investment — especially when it was held by the family through the 1930’s depression. It’s also an economic safety net that ‘loss’ of potential development rights devalues, the lottery of potential long-term health-care costs being what it is.

    Younger, more affluent families tend to be the ones (in my experience) who are eager to ‘close the door’: they can afford what they have and don’t want their quality of life devalued by further influx of immigrants. As with many things, it all depends on what you’re most afraid of happening.

  • I’m always curious about the number of children people have. World population is growing, yet we never equate the personal choice to more than replace ourselves with the driving need for development. I’d love to see how the statistics correlate there and how high the irony factor is.

    Actually, the irony factor is disappointingly low. As we’re a third-stage country in the demographic transition model, our population is stable — our birth rate only slightly exceeds replacement, but once people who do not reproduce (due to death, inability, or choice) are factored out, there’s no increase.

  • 142 pages??? Guess that’s why they provide summaries. :) I’m working on it ….

  • I appreciate the discussion here. I find the focus to be on generalizations about people who want or dont want growth.
    Given we are going to have growth- what do we want to preserve? How will we manage the balance of economic development with the reasons why this place is so great (including the fairly open climate for businesses & the views)?

  • Been here about 30 years. What gets me is the constant yammer about roads, bypasses, water issues, and NOTHING ever gets done. We still have roads here that have not been upgraded for as long as I have been here. It’s nuts…but it ain’t NOVA…yet. May it never be!

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