July 2021 – Citizen and stakeholder outreach is paramount to comprehensive planning. As part of the continued updates to Hillsborough County’s Comprehensive Plan, and at the direction of the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners, the Planning Commission enlisted HCP Associates to get statistically valid feedback from unincorporated area residents on growth, quality of life, and infrastructure in Hillsborough County.
The study included first party research conducted in two phases – both stakeholder interviews and statistically significant telephonic surveys. For the first phase, one-on-one interviews were conducted with 38 stakeholders in three groups – residents of areas that may be targeted for infill, residents and stakeholders in the rural area, and the development community (affordable, infill/mixed use and greenfield). The second phase included statistically significant telephonic surveys of 1,300 unincorporated residents, with sampling matching the demographic characteristics of unincorporated Hillsborough County along the variables of gender, age, race/ethnicity, education, location, and home ownership. Residents were asked questions to understand their feedback regarding population growth, infrastructure, and quality of life questions within the county.
Significant findings from the study include:
- A resounding majority (91%) agree that the county should discourage or limit development to protect agricultural and environmental lands
- A solid majority (71%) believe that Hillsborough County should encourage community identity and sense of place
- A majority of unincorporated Hillsborough County residents (66%) believe that development outside of city centers is an issue for the county
- Overwhelmingly, unincorporated Hillsborough County residents prioritize affordability in their housing selection, over housing size and commute times
- 15% of residents indicate that they would take public transit to work if it were more convenient or available; 9% indicate that they already leverage public transit
- Large majorities of residents in unincorporated Hillsborough County feel that most infrastructure items have kept up with growth, with the exceptions of roads, public transit and bicycle lanes and sidewalks