Some Frederick County residents have reported receiving a telephone call asking them about development. Residents Against Landsdale Expansion says it asks: are you for development, and all that it does for the county; or are you against development and willing to have taxes raised?"
"I just thought that this was a really stilted and biased question, and intellectually bereft," says Steve McKay, President of RALE.
He says it says nothing about Monrovia Town Center, or who sponsored this poll. "But it does belay a certain tilt towards folks who are looking to sponsor further development in the county," says McKay.
The Frederick County Commissioners last month approved a rezoning to allow the Monrovia Town Center to go forward. Instead of the original plans for more than 1500 new homes, that was scaled back to 1250 homes, with 70% of them for people 55 and older. RALE and other groups fought against the project.
McKay says there's no evidence that residential growth benefits a community. "Does residential development pay for itself? Studies show that it doesn't," he says. "What else does development to the county? It can increase traffic and congestion, and deteriorate the quality of life. There are positives, too."
McKay says the telephone calls come from SSI in Orem, Utah, with a number of 801-899-4133. According to the Internet, SSI is a polling company with offices in the US, Canada, Australia, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, South Korea, United Kingdom, Singapore and Romania. The Better Business Bureau in Utah handled 108 complaints against SSI over the past three years, including one from a respondent who was called after being put on the Do-Not-Call list. All those complaints have been settled, according to the BBB.
If you receive this survey call, McKay says don't give the caller a yes or no answer. "I think a more nuance answer is a lot more meaningful," he says
"We can postulate who might conduct a survey like this and how they might use it as we go into this election year," McKay says. "Where a lot of political agendas concerning developments are going to be front and foremost."