Survey reveals residents’ priorities

RANCHO SANTA FE — The Rancho Santa Fe Community survey is in and the results were presented to the Association at its April 21 meeting. While the results revealed opinions about what is most important to residents in the Covenant, an impressive 86 percent said they believed the Association staff and board are doing a terrific job.
“That is like saying Peter (Smith), you are a rock star,” said Claire Booth of Lux Insights, the marketing firmed hired to put together the survey. Smith, Association manager, just minutes earlier had been given the U-Rock Award from the community center in the form of a rock, for being supportive of the facility and its work.
The survey was sent to residents in January by the Long Range Planning Committee, asking them to look 10 years into the future and decide how Rancho Santa Fe should be.
Of the 1,768 four-page surveys sent out, 805 were returned.
“That is pretty amazing in this day and age,” Booth said. “That’s pretty good and is representative of your community at large.”
The survey revealed, in order, what residents believe to be most important
— Preserving the character of Rancho Santa Fe
— Maintaining the Rancho Santa Fe Patrol
— Controlling traffic
— Providing high speed Internet
— Undergrounding utilities
— Continuing to provide open space
Booth said the survey showed the longer a person has lived in the area and the more their homes cost had a direct correlation with the importance they placed on preserving the character and continuing to provide buffers of open space.
“Preserving the rural character is more important than the historical character,” she said.
She said because the survey is broken down by age, how long a person has been a resident, if they have children and how much they paid for their home, responses varied.
People who are newer residents under 55 years of age, especially those with children, said having high speed Internet was very important to them.
“Safety is most important for people over 75,” she said.
About 30 percent made undergrounding utilities a top priority and 75 percent of those believe the Association should provide some financial assistance,” she said.
As for dealing with the Art Jury, the survey said 50 percent of the respondents said it had been a positive experience and 50 percent said their experience had been negative in projects during the past five years.
Many said they would like it if they could pay their Association bills online and they would like to receive general communications and urgent communications such as mountain lion sightings, over the Internet from the Association.
The survey also asked residents what encouraged them to move to Rancho Santa Fe in the first place.
Booth said most replied they liked the rural nature of the community and the privacy and security. Others said the school district attracted them as well as the historical character. The golf club attracted many of them as well as the trail system and the fact the community is equestrian-friendly.
The Long Range Planning Committee, headed by Rochelle Putnam, was assembled last fall to put together the survey and get it out to the community to help the Association to help identify the needs and desires of the members. The last such survey was taken 10 years ago.

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