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Cottonwood Heights Journal

City seeks residents’ opinions on various issues through survey

Apr 30, 2022 09:50AM ● By Cassie Goff

Councilmembers are curious to find out residential opinions related to development and housing within Cottonwood Heights. (Photo courtesy of David Mark/Pixabay)

By Cassie Goff | [email protected]

Cottonwood Heights has contracted with Y2 Analytics to draft, distribute, and collect data from a residential survey. Before surveys can be distributed to a random sample of residents, the Y2 Analytics team must prepare a draft of questions to include for residents to answer about city services.

On March 1, Y2 Analytics Vice President of Research Kyrene Gibb and Data Analyst Emily Shill discussed what should be included on this year’s survey with the city council. They asked the city council what they were hoping to learn from the resident’s responses to the survey. Gibb suggested considering information to guide specific actionable items and will continue to be helpful in guiding city decisions one year from now.

“We want to make sure the information isn’t too vague to be useful,” Gibb said.

Councilmembers Scott Bracken and Doug Peterson mentioned development as a key topic to include on the survey, as there are upcoming developments for Hillside Plaza, the Gravel Pit, and additional projects along Fort Union.

Peterson is especially interested in this topic “with the legislation talking about what may or may not be imposed upon us.”

Councilmember Shawn Newell would like to gather more information related to housing, affordability, and density.

“We have to avoid the word ‘density,’” Gibb mentioned. “We will have to talk about it without triggering a visceral response.”

Mayor Mike Weichers wanted to get more information about how residents communicate with the city and wanted to ensure active listening within the community was highlighted throughout the survey.

Councilmember Ellen Birrell suggested questions about traffic calming, crosswalks, shuttles and a senior center.

“Pickleball will definitely be on the question list,” Gibb said with a laugh.

The council voiced preferred emphasis for city council engagement and response, active transportation, affordable housing and trail development. Additional items to potential include questions about involved housing developments, housing types, diversity tax base, children and family, traffic, walkability, and providing more neighborhood access.

“All of these questions add up quickly, so we need to be constrained,” Gibb said. “We need to get the questions that are most valuable.”

“We do want brevity,” Newell said. “Surveys can get so specific and then you can get tunnel vision on specific topics. That’s not the information we want to receive.”

After Gibb and Shill had a good understanding of what the council hoped to learn through this survey, they began to create a draft with many potential questions. The draft included questions to survey residential perception broadly, evaluate city services over time, about residential communication with the city, and to gather demographic information.

“The survey focuses on perceptions of services and dissemination of information,” said Gibb. “We include specific questions on senior centers.”

Questions within the draft were divided into specific sections. The first section of questions asks about the city’s general plan so responses can be benchmarked comparatively to neighboring cities. The second section uses a Likert scale to survey residential values within the city (such as if the city is a great place to live, if city services are managed appropriately, and if the city is growing in a positive way). Questions within the third section utilize a sider to gather feedback about street evaluations. A section regarding transit throughout the city with cycling-specific questions has been included. The last section gathers demographic information.

Gibb and Shill ensured the council they will be checking for bias within the survey in a variety of ways.

“We have no dog in the fight,” Gibb said. “We are making sure to frame dichotomies in a way that doesn’t create a false choice for residents. We will be doing our best to frame questions in a way that’s not leading or priming respondents for specific answers.”

When finalized, these surveys will be distributed to a random sample of residents. Y2 Analytics wants to ensure a fair representation of the city both demographically and geographically. They use address-based sampling reliant on the registered voter list.

“Voter registration lists are really high which gives a close to full general population,” Gibb said.

After responses from residents are gathered, Y2 Analytics will conduct a post-field analysis based on census and layout estimates.

Y2 Analytics has been conducting numerous citywide residential surveys throughout the past few years.

“We will be preserving year over year comparisons by asking some of the same questions,” Gibb said.

To learn more about the previous Y2 Analytics survey, visit the full pdf of results on the city’s website: