CEDS Survey Results
Survey confirms CEDS vision for update
A survey conducted by the Cape Cod Commission to inform the 5-year update of the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) affirmed a long-held belief about the Commission’s work: the environment is the economy.
Among other things, the survey sought to test the principles underpinning the initial 2009 CEDS document. “It confirmed the CEDS vision for the Cape’s economy,” Chief Economic Officer Leslie Richardson said of the results, available for download on the Commission website (either as raw data or in presentation format).
The Commission used the online service Survey Monkey, collecting responses from nearly 400 respondents across Cape Cod. The Commission used its extensive list of stakeholders from across the Cape to invite participation, as well as soliciting responses through organizations such as the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce and Cape Cod Young Professionals, social media and traditional press.
The top two priorities as ranked by importance were protecting the environment (98%) and creating employment and business opportunities (97%).
Those surveyed let no doubt that the Cape’s economic development stakeholders believe that having a comprehensive regional strategy is of value (88%). A similar percentage expressed an interest in helping develop the regional economic plan. Drilling down into the reasons why provides insight into both the common and varied needs of the Cape’s diverse economy.
Some universal themes throughout the survey include the need for more rental apartments.
- 62% see a need for more rental housing
- 94% rated the high cost of housing as a moderate or significant problem
In terms of the Cape’s built environment, 63% of all survey respondents believe that there is too little (31%) or not the right kind (32%) of commercial development. Thirty seven percent of the total respondents believe it’s just right (20%) or too much (17%).
As for the types of commercial development, survey respondents see the greatest need for more laboratory/research and development space (71%) and light manufacturing (60%). Low on their priorities were warehouses (11%) and medical offices (18%).
The desire to see more light manufacturing and laboratory/research and development space aligns with the Commission’s current approach under Chapter H of the Regional Policy Plan. Last fall, the Commission sought and received through the elected Assembly of Delegates the ability to raise regulatory thresholds on its own under certain circumstances. Some Upper Cape areas that have supporting infrastructure and have attracted this type of development are being looked for a raising of regulatory thresholds, allowing appropriate development to locate without Commission DRI review.
Respondents were split on whether “big box” retail development had a place on Cape Cod. While 49% said they did not support such uses, those indicating support were qualified in their responses.
- 49% do not support “big box” retail
- 23% support it anywhere on Cape
- 10% support “big box” retail west of Bass River
- 19% support such uses only in Hyannis
The survey will also help define the regional priority projects to be incorporated in the CEDS update. Respondents strongly supported efforts to advance commuter and visitor rail service to Cape Cod and for establishing a regional fund to finance wastewater infrastructure. There was also strong support among respondents for entrepreneurship training and business support.
The draft CEDS 5-Year Strategy will be available for public review in time for the May 12, 2014 Smarter Economy Summit, sponsored by the Commission, Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, Cape Cod Economic Development Council and other partners.
For more information about CEDS and other aspects of the Commission’s economic development work, visit the Commission website, capecodcommission.org.