Survey To Seek Out Severna Park Attitudes, Wish Lists

November 14, 1991|By Angela Gambill | Angela Gambill,Staff writer

Why did you move to Severna Park? Which traffic intersection on Ritchie Highway do you most loathe?

The Greater Severna Park Council Tuesday presented council members with a survey to answer such questions, a prototype for an eight-page questionnaire that will go to 10,000 area homes.

The data will be used as a guide for long-range planning in Severna Park, says Muriel Yilmazcetin, chairwoman of the council's planning committee.

"This is our chance to do something pro-active," saidCouncil President Pat Troy.

Survey questions are divided into three segments: personal data, such as information about who commutes where and how often; attitudes toward the area, what people like and don't like; and how they would resolve existing and future problems.

By next spring, the council hopes to have collected the surveys and published the results.

The project began last January, when Yilmazcetin, who moved to Severna Park from California, asked county planning officials what information they needed to better plan for the Severna Park community.

Planning officials told her they needed to know what Severna Park residents wanted. Did they favor having more parks or no parks? More development or less? Faster or slower roads, and where?

"The council had always reacted to what the county was doing, but the county didn't have enough information from Severna Park todo what the community wanted. We didn't know what we wanted," Yilmazcetin says.

The council decided to remedy that, and under Yilmazcetin's direction, the 11 members of the planning committee assembled questions that would help them discover community priorities. The committee was composed of members from local associations representing the entire Severna Park area.

Council delegates were asked to reviewthe questionnaire and return with suggestions in December.

Along with answers to the surveys, the council is also looking for a logo, soliciting suggestions from all county residents, including students at local high schools. The logo that is chosen will be printed on thefront of the questionnaires.

The council's target date for completion of the surveys is April 14, 1992. The data will then be analyzedby computer in a number of ways, to find out, for example, if peopleover 40 favor having more public parks.

"We'll sort it a bunch ofdifferent ways, so it won't be just meaningless numbers," Yilmazcetin says.

"It really will be extremely valuable data for people who live here, so the more people participate, the better."

Dan Nataf,chairman of the council's public works committee, who works as a statistician for the state, will supervise the analysis.

After all the data is analyzed, the planning committee will turn the community's priorities into proposals and send them back to the council committees for action.

"We hope we'll have some definitive answers to what draws people here," Yilmazcetin says. "For some, it's good schools. For others, it's the trees and water and . . . clean air.

"What we're asking people to really think about is what, in the next 10 years,they want to see happen and what they want to avoid.

"Some peopleare really concerned about senior housing. Others are concerned about traffic congestion. We're not sure what most people here really want. We need to find out."

One item on the survey is the possibilityof incorporating as a town, says Troy. The issue -- which will be discussed at length at the council's December meeting -- hasn't been seriously considered by the council in 10 years, says the president.

"What prompted it was that I've had a lot of people hearing about other communities in the county considering incorporation, and asking why Severna Park doesn't do that. So we thought we should put it on the survey and also educate the public, so they'll know what incorporation means."

Troy, who was involved in the late '70s with a planning effort that never materialized, is certain the survey information can "really change how the future of Severna Park turns out."

"I'veoften thought it was too bad that attempt didn't get off the ground.If it had, Severna Park would be different today," she says. "But it's never too late to plan for the future."

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