Leah DuMouchel, the new Township Planner, has analyzed the 1996 and 2010 Township community surveys.  At the September 16 meeting, she announced these conclusions:

  • The previous surveys were constructed well enough to offer actionable data.
  • Resident priorities have been broadly determined.
  • The top three priorities are natural features, downtown development, and recreation.
  • Residential development does not appear to be a strong enough priority to justify amending the master plan at this time.
  • Specific questions remain for which community input would be valuable.
  • Community engagement tools other than a survey may be more appropriate to gather that particular data.

What does this mean?  It means that most of the questions have already been answered.  Attitudes toward preservation and development changed little over the fifteen years separating the two surveys.  It is unlikely that opinions have changed in the five years since the 2010 survey.  She recommended stopping the survey project in its tracks.

The story continues below...

The first bid for a new Township Survey has arrived from Cobalt Community Research.

Read the bid and the township's correspondence here or download the PDF to your PC from here.

This proposal will be discussed at April 14th's Board of Trustees Meeting.and at the April 15th Planning Commission Meeting.

In Cobalt  Research's cover letter, "a developer's" proposal to site 1200+ homes on 460 acres on farmland is specified as the impetus for performing this survey.  

Hopefully, Planning Commissioners Sam Iaquinto, Mark Stanalajzo, and Ken Dignan will read Cobalt's cover letter.  They've spent the last couple of Planning Commission meetings professing bewilderment that anyone could possibly see a connection between their sudden interest in rewriting the Master Plan and Biltmore's 2014 proposal.



"If I were asked for my brief summary of the results of the 1996 study, it would be this:  People live in Northfield Township because they value its small-town qualities and natural environment.

At the same time, there is a general sense that some improvements in roads, youth recreational opportunities, and perhaps public safety protection would be desirable.

There is neither a solid majority in favor of large-scale development nor a solid majority opposed to development of any kind.  Rather, most residents would probably support careful, measured development that preserves the Township's peaceful, small-town charm." - Gregory Markus, PhD, University of Michigan

During the months of May and June, 1996, Dr. Gregory Markus conducted a survey of Northfield Township residents to inform and guide proposed revisions to the Township's Master Land Use Plan.

The following is Dr. Markus' report on the results of that survey.  Dr. Markus explains how the survey was constructed with the full input of Township Trustees, Planning Commissioners, the Chamber of Commerce, the Kiwanis Club, the School Board, the Whitmore Lake Youth League, the High School and Elementary School and even the Police Chief.

The Final Survey Instrument and Questions were approved by the Township Board.

"The Urban Institute of Washington, DC, has concluded that surveys of citizens are 'possibly the most, if not the only, efficient way to obtain information on ... citizens' opinions on various community issues. Such information can be very useful for local governments in setting priorities for resource allocation and the determination of actions to improve existing programs.' The feedback provided by such surveys is more reliable, balanced, and comprehensive than that obtained through informal discussions, personal contacts, public hearings, or—often—even official ballot referenda."

You can read the 1996 report below.  You can also download the report here (256KB).  If neither of those options work, scroll down.  We've posted scans of each page below.

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 1996 Survey Report, Cover Page: