The following material was prepared by North Coast Consulting Group, LLC. The Geauga County Planning Commission and its staff is not responsible for the survey content. The material is reprinted with the permission of North Coast Consulting Group, LLC (letter dated July 18, 2002).
During June and July of 2001 North Coast Consulting Group, LLC conducted a region wide survey of voter opinion for the Berkshire Community Planning Association. The study sample included the townships of Burton, Claridon and Troy as well as the Village of Burton and the Berkshire School District.
The recipients of this survey were asked to express their opinions concerning a number of regional community land use and planning issues, issues related to the Berkshire School District as well as local community planning concerns.
The questions were crafted in conjunction with and the approval by each interest group and political entity involved in the study. The survey recipients were asked to respond to position statements by selecting an appropriate choice from the response menu. The menu selections were, strongly disagree, disagree, no opinion, agree, strongly agree. Additionally the respondents were encouraged to express any written comments concerning regional and local planning issues.
The respondents returned completed survey instruments to NCCG via a prepaid business reply envelope, which was identified by community and precinct only.
The return surveys were sorted by community and precinct. The frequency response dynamics were recorded by precinct and converted into spreadsheets. The written comments were separated into two sections, the first being those comments which specifically addressed the Berkshire School District issues, while the second group contained comments relevant to the regional and local planning issues. As the intent of the Berkshire Community Planning Association study was to gain an insight to thinking of the regions voters concerning present and future planning concerns, the published comments represent a broad ranged voter commentary on specific issues relevant to the dynamics of public planning. Personal references inconsistent with the purpose of this project are unpublished.
The research methodology utilized for this project is consistent to the methods utilized by NCCG during the 1997 and 1999 Berkshire School District surveys. The response yield for the BSD 1997 and 1999 surveys was 27% and 28% respectively. The response yield for the Berkshire Community Planning Association regional survey is 28.9%. This figure is significant as an indicator of a consistent methodology performance. The 28.9% yield is also consistent with the percentage of voters who typically vote in non-presidential and/or non-issue elections. Further this study reflects that of those voters who responded, approximately 96% indicated they voted in the last election (November 2000). The assumption can therefore be made that the opinions retrieved by this research methodology are reliable opinion indicators of that registered voter cross section which typically shows up on election day. This observation becomes significant to the community leaders when considering that virtually every issue discussed in this BCPA study is subject to voter action or reaction.
Finally the responsibility for interpretation of the BCPA results rests solely in the hands of the end users. With regard to the written comments, they are what NCCG has come to characterize as "a truths." These comments represent the truth as perceived by those who crafted them. Repetitive themes, which occur in the written comments are characterized as "collective truths" or opinion tendencies. At the very least all of the data and comments retrieved by the BCPA survey are extremely enlightening and will serve the BCPA and its members well.