postheadericon What Does Lansing Think About Lansing?

lansing_welcome120More than 30 residents came to the Lansing Town Hall Wednesday to find out what Lansingites think about Lansing.  Town of Lansing Comprehensive Plan Update Committee Member Susan Tabrizi presented an analysis of data from a telephone survey that will partially drive future goals in the updated plan.

"Overall, people are happy living in Lansing," she said.  "They are invested in the community.  They see themselves staying here, but they have things that they want to see develop in the future, and they have an idea of what they see the future looking like."

That future includes sustainability practices, new moderate income housing, local businesses and residences in a town center.  Tabrizi presented a summary of how townspeople responded to residential development, natural gas development, land use options, environmental sustainability practices, and town governance.

Of all the reasons to live in Lansing Town residents said the quality of the public schools was the number one reason.  The schools garnered 26.9%, followed by the rural nature of the town (18.1%), being born in Lansing (14.6%).  Others said it is a good location that is close to work and school, family and friends.  Only 6.6% said the reason to live here is affordability, and quality of life, a good place for family or retirement, availability of rental units and safety all got less than 3%.

Residents who are satisfied or very satisfied living in the town made up an overwhelming majority of 93.7% with about 5% dissatisfied and 1.10% very dissatisfied.  75.8% of respondents said they are very likely to continue living in Lansing over the next five years, with an additional 14.9% saying they are somewhat likely to stay.

Respondents were clear that they want local shops and services mixed with residential neighborhoods in a new town center.  Only 34.2% were in favor of national stores locating in the town center proposed for South Lansing.  77.6% want locally owned shops and 74.4% want locally owned service businesses.  65.7% also want residential development there.  In addition about 58% thought taxpayer dollars should be spent on sidewalks and traffic calming measures like lower speed limits and traffic lights.  69.7% support bike lanes and almost as many respondents want new biking, hiking and walking trails.  Almost 90% support transportation for elderly and disabled riders.

Townspeople are split on whether to spend tax dollars to support lakeside commercial development.  86.3% want more senior housing, while just over two thirds of respondents support new moderate income housing.  Only slightly more than half are interested in new multi-family housing in the Town.

86.4% of residents said they want to increase tourism in the Town, with 72.5% also supporting new light industry.  But Most people did not want new heavy industry in the Town.

"It's important to note that this doesn't mean that people don't like Lansing's existing heavy industries," Tabrizi said.  "It means that people are not as excited about encouraging further development in this area."

survey_frackingJust under a quarter of residents think hydrofracking shoul dbe encouraged in Lansing. Over 75% say no.

Because natural gas drilling is such a hot political issue, the survey split the respondents into two groups, asking half if they support hydrofracking for natural gas, and the other half whether they support shale oil or gas drilling.

"As you are aware, the topic of hydrofracking is very controversial, and it elicits reactions on both sides of the issue that can be very vehement," Tabrizi explained.  "We were concerned that any question about natural gas development be interpretable such that we could say that we weren't pushing people in one direction or another because of the language we used."

The results were almost identical even when worded differently.  Tabrizi said an overwhelming majority do not support gas drilling in the Town.  About three quarters of recipients are against it.

Despite a perceived split between the north and south of the Town, the survey found that both sides share goals for protecting land use, with 91.2% in favor of protecting agricultural land, 90.6% wanting to protect scenic and natural areas, nd 87.8% wanting to preserve historical sites.  88.6% support erosion control measures, 82.4% support building energy efficient buildings in the town, and 74.1% want new building with renewable energy sources.

Less than half said the town government responds to resident concerns, and a similar percentage said the Town is good at communicating important issues to town residents.  But townspeople were split on how they want to receive that information.  31.2% want it to come in postal mail, 27.3% in email.  21% want a newsletter.  13.8% say they use the Town Web site, while less than 4% wanted to keep up to date using social media or by actually attending public town meetings.

"This survey provides us with a way of understanding what our community members are interested in so we can incorporate it into the comprehensive plan," Tabrizi said.  "It underscores the importance of a comprehensive plan and the idea that we're moving in to the future and we want to make sure that we are bringing together the community so we can do it in the most successful way."

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