Fri, 02/07/2020 - 2:45pm

A survey worthy of discussion

Last we asked a question: What does Block Island want to be? A recent survey undertaken by The Land Trust provides some answers to that question. The survey is a valuable document and is worthy of some attention and discussion

For instance, 70 percent of the survey’s respondents said that they favor protecting more open space on the island. Respondents were divided, however, on whether the island was being developed too quickly. A total of 47 percent of the respondents felt the island was being developed too quickly, while 45 percent felt it was “developing at a rate that is good for the community.” A total of 58 percent of the respondents said they were “very concerned” about the “effects of climate change on Block Island’s eco-system and infrastructure,” while 27 percent said they were “somewhat concerned.”

There were questions regarding the banning of more items made of plastic, restricting the use of pesticides, and doing more to reduce the deer population. There was a question on whether the availability of affordable housing on the island was an issue. Forty-four percent said it was a “very serious problem” and 33 percent said it was a “somewhat serious problem.” Five percent of the respondents said it was not a problem at all. (63 percent of the respondents said more affordable housing needs to be built.)

This is a survey that doesn’t need to sit on a shelf. It can be used as template during budget discussions and civic planning. Thirty-four percent of the respondents, as an example, said they favor the construction of a new harbor facility. Do we need it? Can we afford it? That’s the kind of discussion the town should be having.

The document can be found at new-shoreham.com. Click on Boards and Commissions, go to The Land Trust link and scroll down to the Public Priorities Poll.