Second Community Survey Helps Shape City’s Future

Posted on 01/03/2018

Looking for input on Cottonwood Heights’ future, the City Council recently turned to the citizens once again for input. Relying on a community survey conducted by the independent firm of Y2 Analytics, 61 percent of those polled agreed that the city is heading in the right direction, 14 percent said in the wrong direction and 25 percent didn’t know or were unsure.

Kyrene Gibb of Y2 Analytics informed the Council that those surveyed rated their Quality of Life at 81 out of 100. She stated that this is one of the highest rankings that they have seen for Utah communities that have asked this question.

This is the second survey conducted in the past 18 months, and the City Council is interested in community needs and trends to help them direct the future of the city. With 673 respondents and a margin of error of +/- 4 percent, the survey is calibrated to give a demographic sample of registered voters in the city.

Other questions focused on subjects such as public works, planning/zoning/building inspection and parks/open space services. It also sought input on how the city gets news to the citizens, if the format and frequency is meeting the public’s need, and how the website can be improved to provide better service.

Trends are changing.  When asked, 52 percent preferred the city newsletter for information. That is down from 60 percent in 2016. Last year, 31 percent of respondents leaned toward digital formats for city information (email, social media, city website, etc.) and that number has risen to 45 percent in the latest survey.

One of the largest changes in service satisfaction is with the public works department. Since bringing snowplowing in-house last winter, the average citizen satisfaction rose from 44 to 64 percent. With a 20-point increase, Ms. Gibb indicated that the jump was unprecedented among other similar surveys, and that the city is obviously moving in a great direction.  

Street maintenance rose by 7 points moving from 55 to 62 percent. The Council took that as a signal to be more invested in streets. The city is currently conducting a study of street integrity to determine priorities of street maintenance and reconstruction.

Questions also focused on where residents shopped, ate, and recreated. The city will use this information for economic development efforts. Keeping residents in the community keeps dollars circulating locally. Providing meaningful parks and open spaces also helps the economy by keeping families close. Citizens show a desire to increase parks space, as well as create a dog park locally, and indicated that they are willing to pay for it.

The final subject related to Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) which are often referred to as “mother-in-law” or basement apartments. With housing stock in short supply right now and a growing number of senior citizens looking to supplement their income, this housing mix is one option to consider.

Nearly half of all surveyed know of someone in their neighborhood occupying an ADU. Nearly two thirds of those feel favorable or neutral to ADUs compared to just over one third who feel unfavorable toward them. Negative views center on appearance of the home, extra cars, and neglect that results from multiple tenants living in the home together. Favorable comments leaned toward personal property rights, demand for affordable housing, and supplemental income for those needing it.

The City Council intends to use the data as they set goals and budget priorities in the coming year.

We invite you to see the data for yourself here.