The vision statement in the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP), adopted by the village council in 2013, says:
Vision: Preservation of Flat Rock as a small, quiet historic village situated in a wooded scenic landscape blending quality residential homes and open spaces.
This underscores the Flat Rock village council’s commitment to the village’s historic past and to its cultural landscape. But how were the CLUP goals with their specific action items determined, and are they reflective of what residents want or need, especially on transportation issues?
The Village of Flat Rock was incorporated in 1995. In 2004 and in 2010, the village conducted surveys of residents to gather information on what residents might want to see in the village.
The village’s 2004 survey showed a 50/50 split on the question of developing additional sidewalks, trails, and paths, and 52% of people responded No on the question of developing bike lanes. The 2010 survey concentrated exclusively on whether residents agreed or disagreed with statements relating to parks.
What does the 2010 survey show?
The response rate to the 2010 survey was too small to be representative. The 2010 U.S. Census shows the Village of Flat Rock grew to a population of 3,114, up from 2,565 in 2000. That increase in population includes the 2005 annexation extending the village lines in the Rutledge and Erkwood areas and the 2007 annexation of Staton Woods, both of which increased the population and size of the village without actually adding to the number of people in the area.
The 2010 survey received only 233 responses (just 7% of the population) compared to the 2004 survey responses of 708 (28%). This is such a small number of returns that the calculation used to see if the 2004 survey had an adequately sized sample could not be used for 2010.
The format for the 2010 survey did not ask questions for the most part, but rather presented statements that the respondent could answer one of three ways:
- Neither agree nor disagree
This produces a Likert-type scale, which rates responses along a range. This is very different from the 2004 survey, which had for each question a list of several answers that the respondent could pick from.
Did the 2010 survey ask for information on the same issues as the 2004 survey? No.
The 2010 survey primarily focused on presenting statements about parks to the respondents, such as “Parks are important to the quality of life in Flat Rock” and “Parks within the Village of Flat Rock should be designed as multiuse facilities” with the answer options being “Agree,” “Disagree,” or “Neither agree nor disagree.”
Residents were also asked to rank amenities that they thought were important for a park, but there were no statements or questions about adding sidewalks, trails, walking paths, or bike lanes.
Because of the low number of returned survey answers, the 2010 survey is essentially meaningless in terms of extracting any information that would help the village make decisions on direction.
What does this mean in terms of the CLUP reflecting the wants and needs of the community? It means that there has been no significant survey of the village community since 2004.
During the time from 2004 to 2018, the village installed sidewalks in most of the main areas listed in the 2004 survey, and purchased and developed The Park at Flat Rock, giving the community a large area of walking trails, the primary desire for those few answering the 2010 survey.
So how should we regard the CLUP and its ability to provide a blueprint for the village council to follow? That’s the next post.
* “Data! Data! Data!” he cried impatiently. “I can’t make bricks without clay.” – from The Adventure of the Copper Beeches by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle