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Planning Division
101-A Mounts Bay Rd.
Williamsburg, VA 23185

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Survey results



Work on the 2003 update of the James City County Comprehensive Plan began with a scientific survey of County residents in 2001 in an effort to understand your dreams, hopes, and expectations for our community.  The results of that survey served as the foundation for the 2003 Comprehensive Plan update and are included at the end of each topic area of the final document.  The Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors have adopted a methodology for the 2009 update to the Comprehensive Plan that includes a similar citizen survey process.


This time, we decided to carry out two surveys: 

  • Given by the International City Management Association (ICMA).  This survey polled about 1,200 people to measure citizen satisfaction and allows us to compare your level of satisfaction with that of others who take the same ICMA survey in communities all across the United States. 
  • The Virginia Tech Center for Survey Research randomly selected and called residents throughout August 2007.  This survey was similar to the 2001 survey done in advance of the 2003 Comprehensive Plan update and allows us to see how the attitudes of you, our citizens, have changed over the past several years.


The surveys are one of many tools the County will use during the Comprehensive Plan update to analyze public opinion and determine Comprehensive Plan policy. 



One the most noticeable results of the surveys was the excellent quality of life enjoyed by James City County (JCC) residents.  In fact, responses of JCC’s overall image and reputation rank above national benchmarks:

  • 91 percent of respondents rated JCC as a good or excellent place to live;
  • 85 percent of respondents rated the quality of life in JCC is good or excellent; and
  • 85 percent of respondents would recommend JCC as a place to live.


Residents have also indicated that the County does well delivering services.  Over 77 percent of respondents rated overall services provided by JCC as good or excellent.  Respondents of the survey gave particularly high marks on:

  • Public Safety, Fire, and EMS services;
  • Cleanliness of the County;
  • Quality of recreation facilities;
  • Cultural and educational opportunities;
  • Schools and library services; and
  • Knowledge, courtesy and responsiveness of JCC employees.


The survey also pointed out areas where the County is viewed as weak by either decreased ratings or by comparison to national averages.  In particular, the study indicated that residents feel the County is lagging on economic development and housing opportunities, although the public feels there are an abundance of shopping centers.  Furthermore, residents have a less than favorable opinion on:

  • Ease of walking in the County;
  • Amount of open space;
  • Availability of transit;
  • Amount of affordable housing;
  • Land use, planning and zoning;
  • Yard waste pickup;
  • Garbage collection;
  • Affordable child care; and
  • Services for low-income residents.


Citizen opinions have strengthened on a variety of questions since 2001, meaning more people are becoming concerned on certain issues.  These include the availability of water resources, speed of growth (residential and commercial) and preservation of farmland.  The strengthening opinions on these issues indicate a call for action on growth management, establishing ways to offset the public costs of development and finding an adequate water supply.


Finally, though residents feel that the County does a good job delivering services, the statistics suggest that residents continue to urge fiscal responsibility.  Support for raising taxes has decreased since 2001.

The themes of the survey are consistent with the comments heard at Planning Commission, Board of Supervisors meetings, and in other James City County reports.  In light of this, the County has already begun working on strategies to address some of these concerns and will continue to do so through the Comprehensive Plan update process.


Full staff memo on the results



Virginia Tech

Final Report                                 Final Report
Frequencies Comparison between 2001 and 2007 Data
Demographic Cross Tabulations Quantitative Raw Data
  Open-Ended Questions Raw Data

Please contact the following individuals with questions on the surveys:

** Susan Willis-Walton, Director
Virginia Tech Center for Survey Research
(540) 231-3695


* Erin Caldwell, Senior Research Associate, or Heather Locke, Director
National Research Center
(303) 444-7863

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