Washougal plans community survey

Topics will include satisfaction with city services

A random sample of Washougal residents will be contacted this spring to find out their levels of satisfaction with various city services.

They will be contacted by mail, with the option to return the community surveys by mail, phone or online.

One of the questions asks respondents to list two items in several areas that should receive the most emphasis from city leaders during the next two years. The areas include public safety, parks, communication, streets and code enforcement.

Participants in the survey will indicate whether office, industrial, retail, multi-family or single-family residential development is occurring too slowly or too quickly.

During the council workshop yesterday, councilman Paul Greenlee said he wants survey respondents to indicate if they are retired, semi-retired or if they have children younger than 18 in their home.

Those responses will help city leaders with long term planning issues, such as aging in place or community access to shopping.

“If there are young children in the household, there might be an interest in a youth recreation center or soccer fields,” Greenlee said.

Survey respondents will mention whether they envision homes, neighborhood commercial, large lot homes, offices, commercial or other employment uses for the urban growth areas to the northwest and northeast of the city, in the year 2035. That question was developed by BergerABAM, a consulting firm that is performing a land use study for the city’s urban growth areas and developing regulations for the employment center zoning designations.

Councilwoman Michelle Wagner suggested asking survey participants to identify a community amenity that could be provided by the city. Then they are asked if they would be willing to pay more in taxes or fees to support the new amenity.

One of the questions that might not make it into the final version of this year’s survey asks if people support allowing marijuana production, processing or retail sales in Washougal.

Councilman Brent Boger suggested that question be deleted, but council member Joyce Lindsay said she would be curious regarding what people are thinking.

The city has a $14,885 professional services agreement with ETC Institute, of Olathe, Kansas, to conduct the survey.

In June 2014, 1,200 people were contacted by phone or mail for the survey about Washougal. Approximately 400 participated.

Forty-two percent of the respondents said they support marijuana retail sales in Washougal. Thirty-eight percent indicated support for marijuana production and processing, also in the city.

In August 2014, the Washougal council affirmed the recommendation of the city’s planning commission to ban the retail sale, processing and production of retail marijuana within the city limits until Sept. 1, 2016. The decision also bans medical marijuana collective gardens in the city.

The City Council is expected to discuss this year’s survey results during an annual planning conference in June.