Americans say the best local project is ‘none’

The Saint ReportNIMBY, Property Development, Saint Index, saintblogLeave a Comment


Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY) attitudes about real estate development projects are stronger than ever, the new Saint Index nationwide survey reveals.

Even though 69 percent of Americans said the recession has made them more likely to support a local commercial project, nearly eight of 10 American adults don’t want new development in their hometown, the survey found.

Seventy-nine percent of Americans say their hometown is fine the way it is or already over-developed — the highest level in six years of Saint Index surveys. The feeling is even stronger among suburban residents, where 86 percent do not want new development in their community.

Asked, “What type of new development would you most like to see in your community?” the most common answer was “none.”

While NIMBYism is strongest in the Mid-Atlantic and West, a basic hostility to local development projects persists, regardless of region, according to Saint Index results. Residents of rural communities expressed the least unfriendliness toward new local development.

Nearly one in five Americans or someone in their family have actively opposed a new development project in their community. Sixty-four percent of Americans said the relationship between local officials and developers makes the approval process unfair.

Landfills, casinos and quarries are the most unwanted types of development projects when Americans consider their hometown. Seventy-six percent said they’d oppose a landfill if it were proposed in the community, while 74 percent would oppose a casino.

Fifty-nine percent of Americans oppose a local quarry development, 55 percent say they’d fight a power plant project, and 54 percent would oppose a proposed mall or large shopping center.

More than half of Americans believe their local government is doing only “fair to poor” on decisions regarding planning and zoning.

Notable shifts are happening when it comes to big box retail projects. Opposition to a local big box store project declined to the lowest levels in six years of Saint Index surveys.

Walmart has gone from the most-unwanted type of local retail project five years ago to nearly an even split between Americans who would support or oppose a new Walmart in their community, the 2011 Saint Index survey found. Nationwide, just 50 percent of Americans now say they’d oppose a Walmart proposed for their hometown, while 47 percent say they’d support a new Walmart development. In urban areas, where Walmart has had the most difficulty locating new stores because of community resistance, the 2011 Saint Index survey found more support than opposition for a local project — 47 percent opposed vs. more than 49 percent support. Five years ago, 68 percent of American adults said they were opposed to a new Walmart project in their community.

The Saint Index is conducted annually by The Saint Consulting Group to track and quantify the politics of land use, including who actively opposes and supports real estate projects and why. The 2011 U.S. Saint Index involved interviews with 1,000 American adults.

The Saint Index 2011


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