Village of River Hills

Comprehensive Plan Survey

APPENDIX B:  Community Survey

 In May 2019, the Village of River Hills mailed postcards to all of the households in the village asking residents to complete a Community Survey. Residents were asked to complete an electronic survey on a website (Survey Monkey). Of the approximate 1,631 village residents, 249 individuals completed community surveys by the June 14, 2019 deadline – a 16 percent response rate. The survey focused on issues regarding land use and zoning, natural resources and the environment, community facilities and services, economic development, and housing. It also provided residents an opportunity to comment on what they liked most about the village, would like to see changed in the village, and offer their vision for the village’s future. Responses to the Community Survey offer insight into residents’ concerns and desires for the future of their community.

Demographics (Questions 1‐9)

Most of the residents who responded to the survey live in the Village of River Hills full time (94 percent) and own their home (99.6 percent). Most respondents have lived in the village for one or more decades: 26 percent have been residents for eleven to twenty years and 39 percent have resided in the village for twenty years or more. Nearly half of all respondents are between the ages of 45 and 64, and residents over the age 65 made up 42 percent of respondents. Only 1.6 percent of the total respondents were thirty‐five or younger. Survey respondents had higher levels of educational attainment: 35 percent have a Bachelor’s Degree, 29 percent a Master’s Degree, and 20 percent have a Doctoral degree. The fewer number of children per household is consistent with the age of respondents:

34 percent have one child, 29 percent have two children, 21 percent have three children, 7 percent have four children, and approximately 8 percent have five or more children per household.

General Issues (Question 10)

Village residents were asked to specify the priority the Village of River Hills should place on addressing a variety of issues (e.g., drainage, village facilities, noise mitigation, traffic control) over the next five years. Issues that were each ranked as one of “Highest Priority” for the village include: protecting drinking water quality and ground water supply, tax burden, protecting river, streams, and natural water bodies, and protecting natural areas. The most significant issues that respondents indicated as a “Low Priority” for the village to address were new or upgraded village facilities and wildlife as a nuisance. After indicating the priority for each issue, residents were asked to select one of the issues ranked “Highest Priority” as the most important issue. Overall, respondents indicated the most important issue was water and ground water quality and protection followed by the tax burden.

Community Facilities and Services (Question 11-13)

Respondents were asked to rank the quality of village facilities and services (e.g., building code enforcement, public schools, road maintenance) from excellent to poor. Facilities and services which were ranked as excellent by respondents include: police, waste collection and recycling, and road maintenance and construction. The facilities and services that were ranked poor by respondents include: building code enforcement and building inspections. A large portion of the respondents indicated they did not know the quality/level of service for the ambulance, library, and building code enforcement.

Respondents were also asked to indicate their satisfaction with the village’s approach to wildlife management. A significant portion of the respondents (81 percent) responded that they were satisfied with the approach, while 19 percent indicated they were not satisfied with the current approach.  Survey respondents who indicated they were not satisfied were asked to specify the priority the village should place on addressing wildlife by species. Overall, these respondents indicated that the highest priority should be given to coyotes, deer, and geese. Species that received a majority of “lowest priority” ranking include turkeys.

Natural Resources (Question 14)

Respondents were asked to rank the importance of a number of natural resources issues (e.g., tree cover, rivers and streams, steep slopes). Respondents overwhelmingly indicated that protecting the village’s natural resources was important or very important: protecting drinking water supply and ground water, protecting floodplains and reducing flood hazards, and protecting tree cover. As before, community members were asked to select one of the issues ranked “Very Important” as the most important issue: more than half of respondents feel that protecting the drinking water supply and ground water was the most important issue and indicated that protecting rivers and streams through riparian buffers was the most important issue. Nine percent of the respondents had no response to this question.

Economic Development (Question 15)

Since there are no commercial establishments in the village, residents were asked whether or not they would like to see a type of retail business, industry, or service that does not currently exist within the village. A large majority of the respondents (88 percent) indicated that they did not want any additional commercial/industry in the village. Of the respondents who indicated they would like additional commercial within the village (12 percent), they indicated their preference for an athletic facility or community park, medical office, restaurant options, Starbucks, Kwik Trip, light retail, beer garden, luxury apartment buildings, office building, use Eder property for village center/gathering place, small organic grocery, tea/coffee shop, and wine store.

Housing and Zoning (Questions 16-18)

The survey included questions on allowed land uses within the village. Two-hundred seventeen (217) of two-hundred forty-nine (249) of the community members who responded to the survey indicated that the current single‐family only zoning should not be changed, while twenty-nine (29) indicated they would like other residential uses to be allowed. Of the sixty-four (64) community members who indicated the zoning should be changed on the survey, seventeen (17) indicated that accessory dwelling units should be allowed, eighteen (18) indicated that two‐family housing should be allowed, and twenty-two (22) indicated that elderly housing should be allowed, and thirteen (13) indicated that multi-family housing should also be allowed.

One-hundred ninety-seven (197) of the two-hundred forty-nine (249) respondents (79%) strongly agree that River Hills is zoned appropriately with single-family residential, twenty-two (22) of the respondents (8.8%) agree, thirteen (13) of the respondents (5%) neither agree or disagree, twelve (12) of the respondents (5%) disagree, and five (5) of the respondents (2%) strongly disagree.

Visions, Goals, & Objectives (Questions 19-21)

The final community survey questions were free answer questions directed at determining what village residents liked most about River Hills, if there was anything they felt should be changed in the village, and their vision for the village’s future. As expected, these open ended questions resulted in a range of responses. The following is a summary of the most frequent comments to each of the questions. A detailed list of all the responses from questions 19, 20, and 21 can be obtained by request.

When asked what they liked most about the Village of River Hills, residents’ most frequently mentioned (227 responses) the village’s large lots (55 responses), proximity to downtown Milwaukee (48 responses), privacy (45 responses), rural character (41 responses), sense of nature (34 responses), quiet (31 responses), services provided to residents (28 responses), no commercial development (18 responses), and safety (16 responses).

In regard to what, if anything, village residents would like to see changed about River Hills.  A large number of the community members indicated that nothing about the village should be changed and that the village should stay exactly as it is today (27 responses).  They also expressed a desire for the following:  lower taxes (27 responses), enforcement of speeding laws (15 responses), develop more of a sense of community (13 responses), installation of bike/walking paths (9 responses), village water system (9 responses), code enforcement – address rundown properties (8 responses), install a noise barrier for I-43 (7 responses), stronger environmental approach (6 responses), address dangerous intersections (6 responses), increase property values (5 responses), a more transparent Board (5 responses), traffic at University School of Milwaukee (5 responses), the promotion of River Hills (5 responses), and also stop trying to change the zoning of the community (4 responses).

The last survey question asked community members to identify one vision for the Village of River Hills. As expected, there were a wide array of responses; however, the most frequent response (36 of 249 total responses) was that River Hills should stay “as is”.  Other common visions were to maintain the single-family residential setting (25 responses), do not allow any commercial development (21 responses), emphasize nature based environmental values (17 responses), sustain a rural atmosphere (16 responses), do not make any changes to the existing zoning code (10 responses), attract young families to River Hills (8 responses), establish a sense of community (7 responses), and to reduce the noise impact from I-43 (6 responses).  As one resident stated, River Hills is a “vibrant, inclusive single-family community”.  Another resident noted that River Hills is “a charming community prominent in traditional values and welcoming neighbors”.

Survey Results

RESPONDENT PROFILE

1.  Are you a full‐time resident or seasonal resident?

  • Full‐time: 233 or 93.0 percent
  • Seasonal: 14 or 6 percent
  • No Responses: 2 or 1 percent

 2.  If you are a seasonal resident, please indicate the number of months per year you live in the village?

  • 4 months: 1 response
  • 5 months: 2 responses
  • 6 months: 3 responses
  • 7 months: 1 response
  • 8 months: 5 responses
  • 9 months or more: 29 responses

3.  Do you own or rent your home?

  • Own: 239 or 96 percent
  • Rent: 2 or 1 percent
  • No Responses: 8 or 3 percent

4.  How long have you lived in the Village of River Hills?

  • 0-2:  5 percent
  • 3-5:  13 percent
  • 6-10:  16 percent
  • 11-20:  25 percent
  • more than 20:  37 percent
  • no response:  4 percent

5.  What is your age group?

  • 20 or under:  0.5 percent
  • 21-34:  1 percent
  • 35-44:  10 percent
  • 45-64:  44.5 percent
  • 65-74:  27 percent
  • 75 or over:  13 percent
  • no response:  4 percent

6.  How many adults are in your household? one , two, three, four or more

  • One: 10 percent
  • Two: 76 percent
  • Three:  8 percent
  • Four or more:  4 percent
  • No response:  2 percent

7.  Please indicate the highest level of education for each adult in your household:

 

 

Adult

 

High School

 

College no Degree

 

Associate’s Degree

 

Bachelor’s Degree

 

Master’s Degree

 

Doctoral Degree

 

No Response

Adult 1 3 4 1 47 22 11 7
Adult 2 2 5 1 47 22 11 13
Adult 3 3 5 0 3 2 0 88
Adult 4   1         100
Adult 5             101

8.  How many children or teenagers are in your household? Please indicate number of children and their

 

Children

Age Ranges  

Total

 

Percent

0 ‐ 2 3‐5 6‐8 9‐11 12‐14 15‐17 18‐19
Child 1 25 4 10 5 17 22 16 99 46
Child 2 5 4 8 9 10 21 6 63 29.3
Child 3 3 6 3 6 8 5 2 33 15.3
Child 4 2 0 3 2 1 3 0 11 5.1
Child 5 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 3 1.4
Child 6 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 0.9
Child 7 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.5
Child 8 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.5
Child 9 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.5
Child 10 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.5
Total 41 14 24 24 36 52 24 215  
Percent 19 7 11 11 17 24 11    

9.  What school district do you live in?

  • Glendale-River Hills:  18 percent
  • Maple Dale – Indian Hill:  52 percent
  • Nicolet High School:  22 percent
  • No response:  8 percent
GENERAL ISSUES

10.  Please specify the priority the Village of River Hills should place on addressing the following general issues over the next five (5) years. Please indicate “don’t know” if you have no experience or basis upon which to judge the general

Issue Priority
Highest High Moderate Low Lowest Don’t Know
Drainage and storm water runoff 5 4 3 2 1 0
Location and quantity of new development 5 4 3 2 1 0
New or upgraded village facilities (other than schools) 5 4 3 2 1 0
Noise mitigation (I-43) 5 4 3 2 1 0
Preserving educational quality 5 4 3 2 1 0
Protecting drinking water quality and ground water supply 5 4 3 2 1 0
Protecting natural areas (e.g., tree cover, wetlands) 5 4 3 2 1 0
Protecting rivers, streams, and natural water bodies 5 4 3 2 1 0
Tax burden 5 4 3 2 1 0
Traffic control and improvements 5 4 3 2 1 0
Wildlife (nuisance) 5 4 3 2 1 0
Other___________________________________ 5 4 3 2 1 0
“OTHER” RESPONSES:
  • Location and quantity of new development: 40 responses
  • Protect the drinking water and quality of the water: 32 responses
  • Tax burden: 38 responses
  • Improve public education quality: 19 responses
  • Noise mitigation: 13 responses
  • Speed limit enforcement/traffic control: 4 responses
  • Promote River Hills/branding Village: 3 responses
  • Natural areas: 7 responses
  • Keep residential only: 5 responses
  • Drainage and stormwater runoff: 5 responses
  • Get rid of coyotes: 3 responses

Of the items ranked “Highest Priority,” please indicate which one (1) is the most important:

  • Drainage and stormwater runoff:  4 percent
  • Location and quantity of new development:  13 percent
  • New or upgraded village facilities (other than schools):  1 percent
  • Noise mitigation (I-43):  7 percent
  • Preserving education quality:  9 percent
  • Protecting drinking water quality and ground water:  19 percent
  • Protecting natural areas (eg., tree cover, wetlands):  11 percent
  • Protecting rivers, streams, and natural water bodies:  11 percent
  • Tax burden:  14 percent
  • Traffic control and improvements:  5 percent
  • Wildlife (nuisance):  3 percent
  • Other:  3 percent              
COMMUNITY FACILITIES AND SERVICES

11.  Please rank the following village facilities and services as “excellent”, “good”, “adequate”, or “poor” by circling the appropriate letter. Please indicate “don’t know” if you have no experience or basis upon which to judge the general

Facilities and Services Excellent Good Adequate Poor Don’t Know
Ambulance E G A P DK
Building code enforcement E G A P DK
Police E G A P DK
Building inspections E G A P DK
Fire/Rescue E G A P DK
Library E G A P DK
Public school system E G A P DK
Road maintenance and reconstruction E G A P DK
Tax assessing and collection E G A P DK
Waste collection and recycling E G A P DK

12.  Are you satisfied with the Village of River Hills’ approach to wildlife management?

  • Yes:  76 percent
  • No:  18 percent
  • No response:  6 percent

13.  Please specify the priority River Hills should place on addressing wildlife management by species over the next five (5) years. Please indicate “don’t know” if you have no experience or basis upon which to judge the general issue.

  • Highest – Coyote, Geese, Turkey, Deer
  • High – Deer, Coyotes, Geese, Turkeys
  • Moderate – Deer, Geese, Turkeys, Coyotes
  • Low – Turkeys, Geese, Deer, Coyotes
  • Lowest – Turkeys, Geese, Deer, Coyotes
  • No response – Geese, Deer, Turkeys, Coyotes     
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
  •  Coyotes threaten our children and animals.
  • Too much negative emphasis on coyotes. Let them be.
  • Overall Village has done a fine job.
  • Please do not use lethal means to “control” our wildlife. Things are good, as they are. We live here because we enjoy having wildlife in our community and our yard.
  • Turkeys have become a major nuisance. Neighbors actually feed them.
  • Coyotes make it impossible to let my dog out to be left alone on my property.
  • We need only address wildlife if the wildlife are causing problems serious problems such as traffic accidents or attacks. Otherwise, wildlife is the beauty of living in River Hills.
  • Unfortunately those who don’t like wildlife should live somewhere where urban development precludes wildlife ability to survive in it, for instance apartment or condo developments. Some people in this village would like you to kill everything that wanders into their yards and River Hills has not bee and, hopefully won’t ever be about that.
  • I’m unsure of the wildlife management policies currently in place in the Village of River Hills.
  • If there is a management method that balances predators, coyotes with other wildlife, that would be most appropriate. Residents that choose to live in semi-rural area should realize there are wildlife occurrences that may not fit with the urban mentality. Education is paramount. Protection of property and lifestyle may be made without destruction of the natural wildlife balance.
  • Coyotes are an issue.
  • Turkeys are a nuisance. So are deer. The herd needs culling.
  • Wildlife is boon to the community. Needs to be welcomed but with common sense.
  • We are in favor of supporting wildlife here in any way possible. It is one of the joys of living here.
  • Deer, geese and turkeys are of no trouble. Coyotes are.
  • Feral domestic cats are a bigger problem.
  • I have seen multiple coyotes walking around during school hours near Indian Hill.
  • Although I love seeing the wild coyotes, packs of 4 and 5 in our backyard are disconcerting.
  • The number of turkeys and coyotes has increased to exceptionally high numbers in the ten years that we have lived here. They are both such a nuisance – cannot believe how many are in our yard in a given day.
  • Coyotes should not be exterminated as they keep down the population of squirrels and rabbits.
  • We love the turkeys.
  • I enjoy having wild turkeys in my yard.
  • Coyotes are a growing problem.
  • Love the turkeys and deer. Must get rid of the coyotes.
  • I am very disturbed at the placing of deer traps throughout the River Hills area. I do not like traps or paying for them.
  • You can’t live in the country and not expect to interact with wildlife. Beavers are an issue, should they be on the list.
  • The turkeys are really out of control. I think it is because one of my neighbors feeds them.
  • Couldn’t care less, they are animals. Let them do what they want.
  • I don’t see wildlife management as a key mission of village government. Give flexibility in the rules for owners to manage under DNR regulations.
  • Coyotes are the highest.
  • We see quite a few coyotes in the area south of Good Hope Rod and we occasionally have concerns.
NATURAL RESOURCES

14.  Please circle the number indicating the level of importance that the Village of River Hills should give to the following items:

  • Protect tree cover: 
    • No response:  6 percent
    • Don’t know:  3 percent
    • Not important:  8 percent
    • Somewhat important:  45 percent
    • Very important:  37 percent
  • Protect surface water (e.g, lakes and ponds) quantity and quality:  
    • No response:  4 percent
    • Don’t know:  1 percent
    • Not important:  2 percent
    • Somewhat important:  10 percent
    • Very important:  84 percent
  • Protect surface water (e.g., lakes and ponds) quantity and quality
    • No response:  5 percent
    • Don’t know:  6 percent
    • Not important:  8 percent
    • Somewhat important:  45 percent
    • Very important:  36 percent
  • Protect rivers and streams through riparian buffers
    • No response:  5 percent
    • Don’t know:  13 percent
    • Not important:  10 percent
    • Somewhat important:  40 percent
    • Very important:  33 percent
  • Protect hillsides and steep slopes (greater than 18 percent)
    • No response:  5 percent
    • Don’t know:  10 percent
    • Not important:  18 percent
    • Somewhat important:  52 percent
    • Very important:  15 percent
  • Protect floodplains and reduce flood hazards
    • No response:  4 percent
    • Don’t know:  2 percent
    • Not important:  6 percent
    • Somewhat important:  42 percent
    • Very important:  46 percent
  • Identify and protect prime wetlands
    • No response:  6 percent
    • Don’t know:  3 percent
    • Not important:  13 percent
    • Somewhat important:  44 percent
    • Very important:  34 percent
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
  •  To protect the drinking water and ground water supply – 116 responses
  • Protect the rivers and streams – 7 responses
  • Reduce flood hazards – 9 responses
  • Protect the tree cover – 4 responses
  • Protect from commercial development
  • Control Buckthorn
  • Protect the wetlands – 4 responses
  • Install a berm along I-43
  • Coyotes
  • Protect the floodplains – 2 responses
  • Not a key role of government, it’s the state’s responsibility
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

15.  Is there a type of retail business, industry, or service that does not currently exist in the Village of River Hills that you wish were available?

  • Yes:  12 percent
  • No:  86 percent
  • No response:  3 percent

If you indicated “yes,” please indicate what kind of business, industry, or service

Business, Industry, or Service:
  •  Athletic facility or community park
  • Medical office
  • Restaurant options
  • Starbucks
  • Kwik Trip, Gas Station
  • Light retail
  • Beer garden
  • Luxury apartment buildings
  • Office Building
  • Use Eder property for village center/gathering place
  • Small organic grocery store/grocery store
  • Tea/coffee shop
  • Wine store
HOUSING & ZONING

16.  The Village of River Hills is zoned single‐family residential. Would you like this to be changed?

  • Yes:  12 percent
  • No:  87 percent
  • No response:  1 percent

17.  If ‘Yes,’ what type of housing would you like allowed within the Village of River Hills?

  • Multi-Family Housing
    • Yes:  22.81 percent
    • No:  64.91 percent
    • Don’t know:  12.28 percent
  • Two-Family Housing
    • Yes:  31.58 percent
    • No:  61.40 percent
    • Don’t know:  7.02 percent
  • Accessory Dwelling Units
    • Yes:  28.81 percent
    • No:  50.85 percent
    • Don’t know:  20.34 percent
  • Elderly Housing
    • Yes:  36.07 percent
    • No:  44.26 percent
    • Don’t know:  19.67 percent
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
  • Only single-family housing should be allowed/No changes
  • High-end condo, 55+ who wish to remain in the Village/Attractive town homes
  • No new business/group homes/multi-dwellings
  • Multi-family housing would help offset the tax burden
  • Mixed usage building with retail and housing

18.  The Village of River Hills is zoned single‐family residential. Do you believe that the Village of River Hills is appropriately zoned?

  • Strongly Agree:  79 percent
  • Agree:  9 percent
  • Neither Agree or Disagree:  5 percent
  • Disagree:  5 percent
  • Strongly disagree:  2 percent
VISIONS, GOALS, & OBJECTIVES

19.  What do you like most about the Village of River Hills?

RESPONSES
  • Privacy: 45
  • Rural character of community: 41
  • Quiet neighborhoods: 31
  • Large lot sizes (and minimum 5 acre residential lots): 55
  • The services that are received: 28
  • Safe neighborhoods: 16
  • Totally residential – no commercial development: 18
  • Nature: 34
  • Close proximity to downtown Milwaukee: 48

20.  What would you most like to see changed about the Village of River Hills?

RESPONSES
  • Lower taxes: 27
  • Don’t change anything: 27
  • Enforce speed laws: 15
  • Develop more sense of community: 13
  • Install bike and walking paths in busy areas: 9
  • Village water: 9
  • Address code enforcement issues – rundown properties: 8
  • Install a barrier to reduce the noise problems on I-43: 7
  • Address dangerous intersections: 6
  • Stronger environmental approach/protection and education: 6
  • Address traffic issues from the University School: 5
  • Promote the attributes of River Hills: 5
  • Increase property values: 5
  • Board needs to be more transparent: 5
  • Stop trying to change the zoning: 4
  • Address school district tax hikes: 3
  • No commercial development: 3
  • Rezone and purchase the Eder property: 3
  • Improve water quality: 2
  • Keep the village zoned single-family: 2
  • Rental properties not being maintained: 2
  • Better zoning: 1
  • Change zoning to two-acre minimum lots: 1
  • Repair roads: 1

21.  If you could identify one vision for the Village of River Hills, what would it be?

RESPONSES
  •  Stay the same/continue as is: 36
  • Single-family environment: 25
  • No Commercial development: 21
  • Nature based environment: 17
  • Sustain rural atmosphere: 16
  • No changes to zoning or lot sizes: 11
  • Attract young families to the community: 8
  • Develop community connections: 7
  • Reduce I-43 noise: 6
  • Country feel close to downtown Milwaukee: 5
  • Safety: 5
  • Promote the uniqueness of River Hills: 4
  • Develop the Eder property as small lots/park: 3
  • Take command of school district performance: 1
  • More transparent leadership: 1
  • Become energy self-sufficient: 1