HCP Associates consulted with Hillsborough County and the Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission (Planning Commission) to develop a multi-model community outreach methodology. HCP Associates conducted individual interviews with key stakeholders across the area to hear from multiple vantages on these complicated subject matters. These stakeholders comprised many different perspectives, including:
- Local farmers
- Landowners in unincorporated Hillsborough County
- Local environmental advocates
- Developers of master-planned communities
- Providers of affordable housing
- Everyday residents in unincorporated Hillsborough County
Thereafter, HCP Associates compiled statistically valid feedback through a tightly controlled telephonic survey of area residents. The findings revealed that large majorities of residents within unincorporated Hillsborough County believe two things.
The first is housing affordability. Overwhelmingly, residents indicated that more than seeking a convenient commute or a larger home, they select their residency with affordability as the primary consideration.
The second deals with population growth and land development. A majority of residents feel that change is happening too fast – especially growth outside of urban areas. Further, nearly all residents – 91% – believe that the development of formerly environmental and agricultural lands should be limited or discouraged.
By synthesizing these qualitative and quantitative data, HCP Associates provided a clear picture of the local population’s sentiment. Hillsborough County has a challenging task ahead in managing such high growth. However, this study demonstrated that its efforts to encourage infill redevelopment and preserve options for rural, suburban, and urban living within the County are aligned with residents’ expectations.