Around 80 people took the 2018 Neighborhood Survey – so the results are not necessarily representative of how the community feels about issues. But that said, they are still pretty revealing. Here is a link to the full surveys results - https://www.surveymonkey.com/stories/SM-JMMLH6Q8/
On the positive side – most felt that the neighborhood was clean, that crime was low, that the streets were good and that landscaping was in good shape.
Respondents cited the walkability of the neighborhood as contributing to a good quality of life as well as the closeness of King Farm to the Metro station. They listed the King Farm Swim Team, HOA activities and the amenities such as parks that they view as positives of living in King Farm.
Also, they felt that the HOA responded to them when they had a concern.
But there is still work to do. One item that responding residents were very clear about. With a vote of 62-2 people were in favor of the HOA finding a way to expand engagement and put a livestream or video of the Board meetings online (18 people said they were neutral). That is pretty striking and seems something that needs immediate attention. People want more information about what the Board is doing and meeting about.
- I've seen BOT members and President (or spouse) say "Just attend the meeting" which is an arrogant comment. I work, have a family, volunteer with other areas. Maybe I don't have time to go on a Wednesday night to a meeting. However, that doesn't mean I'm not interested.
- The Board and President should be less paranoid about residents potentially misusing these videos. Check out the policy on similar videos from Rockville Council meetings -- you will find none exists.
- i'd like to come out to hoa's meeting but with a kid at home. it's hard for me to come out without getting a babysitter. video of meeting would be a great idea for people to get involved.
Take a look here at the other responses to more questions such as:
- What do you like most about living in King Farm?
- What do you like least about King Farm?
- What changes would most improve this neighborhood?
- What would you like to see the Board and President work on in King Farm in 2019? Or future years?
- Any ideas for ways that the Board of Trustees and the President can improve engagement with residents?
There is a lot of information in the feedback, and I hope it generates much more conversation.
People identified needs such as taking a look at the landscaping in medians and other places that can obstruct views when they are driving. The Village Center space is a major issue among respondents who cite its empty storefronts and lack of a vibrant commercial presence as one that needs addressing to bring up the quality of life in King Farm. In addition, some respondents raised the issue of King Farm being divided in half by the school districts – with some in the Rockville district and some houses in the Gaithersburg district. They feel that this contributes to a less cohesive community.
By and large, when people had a complaint or an observation about King Farm it was that they did not know their neighbors or that a sense of community was lacking. It seems to some people that there people move out of King Farm and that new residents aren’t incorporated into the fabric of the community. So you have the old established community and the new community that feels un-involved and disconnected.
Residents had a lot of suggestions for the Board of Trustees, the HOA President and Management. These include updating the website, better usage of social media and other platforms, more HOA events, more timely upkeep on landscaping and increased attention to management of the pools.
There also was an undercurrent of people desiring civil discourse - whether on social media, the list serv, email or in interactions with their neighbors and the HOA President and Board. I think that is something that we all can strive towards immediately.
There is a lot to digest in the responses to the survey. So I’ll probably try to clean them up to ensure nothing in there is identifying or inflammatory. Probably the next week or so I’ll post them when I have some time to clean them up.
Thanks everyone for taking the survey. Hopefully next year we will be able to field a real HOA sponsored survey once everything is settled down and people can focus on it.