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Longboat Key Thursday, Sep. 10, 2009 10 years ago

Key resident disputes Key Club survey

by: Kurt Schultheis Senior Editor

Longboat Key resident John Summers e-mailed a 1,500-word critique of The Longboat Key Club and Resort’s phone survey to Mayor Lee Rothenberg Tuesday, Sept. 1.

In the e-mail, Summers admits that he was not provided a copy of the club’s Islandside renovation project phone survey.

Instead, the retired marketing professor said his critique is based upon information he read in The Longboat Observer’s Sept. 3 story about the survey as well as from notes from residents who wrote down many of the questions they were asked when the survey was performed in June.

Summers takes issue with the fact the club calls the Islandside project a “renovation project,” which he says is misleading because much of the project includes building new structures.

Summers told Rothenberg that many of the questions in the survey contain “serious biases.”

The survey, performed by Tallahassee-based Kerr & Downs Research for the club, reports that three in four registered voters surveyed who live within Islandside (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 perceptions of the club’s pending $400 million Islandside 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.

In response to Summers’ letter, Downs said that each Key resident was informed that the renovation project included all of the proposed aspects of the project.

“We deliberately gave a detailed explanation of the planned renovations so there could be no misunderstanding,” Downs said.

Downs has previously stated 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.

Bob White, chairman of the Islandside Property Owners Coalition, which opposes the project as proposed, said Summers was not commissioned by the coalition to perform his critique.

“But I think his findings should be of great interest to people,” said White, who called Summers’ critique “very thorough.”

Club officials declined to comment on Summers’ critique, reiterating that his report is based on a survey that was never released to him.

Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected].


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