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Longboat Key Wed Aug 19, 2009 5 years ago

And the survey says ...

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by: Kurt Schultheis Managing Editor

A phone survey conducted in June for The Longboat Key Club and Resort reveals that one in four registered voters surveyed living outside of the club’s gates, which makes up 90% of the island’s voters, oppose the club’s $400 million Islandside renovation project.

The survey, performed by Tallahassee-based Kerr & Downs Research, also reported that three out of four registered voters surveyed that live within Islandside, which make up 10% of the island’s registered voters, oppose the project.

The objective of the survey, which surveyed 400 out of 6,433 registered Key voters, was to assess residents’ perception of the club’s pending $400 million Islandside renovation application on file at the town’s Planning, Zoning and Building Department.

Conducted June 11 through June 20, the phone survey’s methodology included questions written by Kerr & Downs senior partner Phillip Downs and his associates.

“Support for renovations to the Longboat Key Club and Resort is much greater among all other voters than it is among voters who live behind the (resort’s) gates,” Downs said.

The survey reports that NIMBY, an acronym that stands for Not in My Backyard, greatly impacts reactions to the project.

The survey reports that 47% of island voters who don’t live within Islandside think the project will have a positive impact on Longboat Key, compared to 34% who disagree. By comparison, 62% of voters polled that live in Islandside disagreed; 21% agreed.

Survey results also show that all voters polled equally supported other recent condominium projects such as Positano and Grand Mariner; those behind the gates only oppose the project that will be close to their homes.

And, 64% of Islandside voters polled disagree that renovations are necessary to keep Longboat Key a vibrant resort community, while all other voters surveyed agreed by a 54% to 38% margin that the renovations are necessary to keep Longboat Key vibrant.

The most popular cited reasons for opposing the project, according to the survey, were increased traffic, too much construction noise and a project that’s too massive.

Those who support the project said the renovations to the resort would help other businesses on the Key survive year-round, assist in attracting homebuyers and visitors and enhance the character of the island.
Downs, also a professor of marketing at Florida State University, said his company had complete control over the creation of the questions and the phone survey.

“When we are dealing with a project where we may have to testify and make comments to the public, our clients have to agree to our questions,” Downs said. “Once it became clear to me this was a typical development project with some opposition, I recommended a telephone survey methodology because, in my market research, telephone surveys are still the gold standard for data collection and a sampling survey.”

Downs said his company acquired 90% of the telephone numbers for all the registered voters on Longboat Key and attempted to reach each resident at least twice.

“We completed 400 interviews out of a list of 6,433 registered voters,” said Downs, who explained that the results are within five percentage points of accuracy. “Anyone consuming the results of this study can be confident the results reflect the mood of the community.”

The kinds of questions developed, Downs said, presented two sides to the issue “and were painstakingly created to make them objective and fair.”

When the survey was performed in June, The Longboat Observer received at least five calls or voicemail messages from residents who called the survey’s questions “biased.”

Despite his efforts, Downs admits that in his experience as a consulting project director for more than 1,000 research projects, opponents of a project will never support the data or the questions presented in a survey.

To the right is a sample list of the questions asked and responses given, broken up by those surveyed who live within Islandside and those who live outside of the resort grounds.

CHOOSING KERR & DOWNS RESEARCH

The Longboat Key Club and Resort hired Tallahassee-based Kerr & Downs Research to perform its telephone survey earlier this summer. The company’s founding partner, Phillip Downs, has worked with Fortune 500 firms, national and international associations, governments and non-profit organizations for more than 25 years. Downs has conducted more than 1,000 studies in three continents in six languages for various clients and associations.

RESULTS ARE IN

• Do you agree or disagree that tourism is a critical part of the economy of Longboat Key?
Agree — 86% rest of voters, 55% behind the gates
Disagree — 9% rest of voters, 24% behind the gates

• Do you agree or disagree that renovations to existing properties and new development will help Longboat Key compete with other world-class destinations for homebuyers and visitors?
Agree — 70% rest of voters, 31% behind the gates
Disagree — 16% rest of voters, 38% behind the gates

• Do you support or oppose planned renovations of The Longboat Key Club and Resort or does it matter to you?
Support — 41% rest of voters, 21% behind the gates
Oppose — 25% rest of voters, 74% behind the gates

• Do you agree or disagree that renovations to the Longboat Key Club and Resort will help keep Longboat, Longboat, by enhancing the club’s facilities and adding new upscale properties to the community?
Agree — 47% rest of voters, 21% behind the gates
Disagree — 34% rest of voters, 62% behind the gates

• All things considered, do you support or oppose renovations to Longboat Key Club and Resort?
Support — 50% rest of voters, 14% behind the gates
Oppose — 39% rest of voters, 71% behind the gates

• How many months a year do you live on Longboat Key?
Less than 12 months per year — 20% rest of voters, 38% behind the gates
12 months per year — 80% rest of voters, 62% behind the gates

• Do you agree or disagree that developments such as L’Ambiance, Grand Mariner, Positano, etc. have helped “Keep Longboat, Longboat” by adding new, upscale properties to the community?
Agree — 58% rest of voters, 62% behind the gates
Disagree — 20% rest of voters, 19% behind the gates


 

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