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RFP- Assistance with POCD Update, Town of Toland, CT

TOWN of TOLLAND/ 21 Tolland Green, Tolland, Connecticut 06084

REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS – ASSISTANCE WITH POCD UPDATE

The Town of Tolland Planning and Zoning Commission is soliciting proposals to assist with the update of the Plan of Conservation and Development. We welcome submittals from qualified firms or professionals that can undertake all or portions of the scope of services. We reserve the right to engage the services of multiple consultants depending upon responses and qualifications.

We are seeking two key skillsets in our selection of a consultant:

  • Ability to design and effectively execute purposeful public workshops and focus groups that are tailored to meet our specific needs.
  • Ability to guide and advise a community that lacks consensus on the appropriate level and scale of economic development.

Tolland’s current POCD was adopted on October 13, 2009 and underwent minor updates in 2011. The goal is to have a new plan adopted by October 2019.

It is anticipated that most of the work to update the plan will be done in-house by staff. Consulting services are being sought for specific public outreach components and to assist with updating content related to economic development.

Scope

Creating the Plan

It is anticipated that staff will undertake updates for all topic areas except for the Tolland Village Area and Economic Development. We seek consultant services for those two topics. As noted in the next section, some of the public input process should focus exclusively on these two topics.

  • Tolland Village Area: After adoption of the 2009 POCD, the Commission undertook a visioning process with public involvement and adopted zoning regulations to allow for mixed use development in a commercial area adjacent to Interstate 84 (the Tolland Village Area). Since that time a number of development options were explored but never moved beyond a discussion stage. In 2016, a developer devised a concept with approximately 360 apartments (with 12% being affordable workforce housing), 33,000 square feet of retail space and a 100 room hotel. The proposal generated tremendous public interest, with the majority that weighed in opposed due to intensity and density. Some who had been involved in the initial planning for the zone felt the proposal veered too far from that initial vision. The developer ultimately withdrew the project. More recently, the town hired an economic development consultant to analyze the market and run hypothetical financials based on estimated development costs for the site that was subject to the development proposal. This study provides greater insight into market potential and limitations. Most interested parties agree that it is time to rethink and possible readjust the vision based on public input and market realities.

Based on past efforts and development proposals, the recent economic study and input provided during this POCD update process, we are looking for the consultant to make findings and provide recommendations on how to proceed with the Tolland Village Area. Recommendations may include a revised or updated vision, suggested changes to the regulations, tools to encourage desired development, tools to address site development challenges, and other recommendations. Town staff will incorporate the consultant’s work into a POCD chapter on the Tolland Village Area.

  • Town-wide Economic Development: We are looking for the consultant to provide recommended strategies for economic development, including the town’s economic development organization capacity and possible updates to zoning regulations to accomplish economic development goals. We expect particular focus should be paid to the Gateway Design District and Technology Campus Zone.

The Economic Development Commission is currently conducting in-person interviews with a number of business owners. We expect to make those results available to the consultant. Similar to the Tolland Village Area work, town staff will incorporate the consultant’s work into a POCD chapter on Economic Development.

Public Process

Initial thoughts on the public process are outlined below but we welcome alternative suggestions. It is critical that each method and technique for public input is purposeful in that it meets a specific need at a specific point in the process. Meaningful public participation is valued in Tolland.

Beginning of Process (scoping):

  • Town staff will:
  • Undertake a community scoping survey of 10 to 15 questions (electronic and paper) to gauge key priorities and issues.
  • Ask relevant Boards and Commissions to review the current POCD and provide general input to the Commission.
  • Consultant services are needed to: o Design and facilitate a public workshop. The goal of this kick-off workshop is to solicit issues and topics of interest, gauge how the town is doing, and ask what is important.
  • Prepare a report summarizing key findings from the workshop.

Middle of process (seeking and testing solutions, and setting priorities):

  • A separate consultant, not subject to this RFP, will conduct a telephone survey.
  • Consultant services are needed to:
  • Design and facilitate up to 2 public workshops (if budget allows for 2). One workshop should likely focus on economic development. At these workshops, participants will start to develop strategies, identify conflicts and possible solutions, and determine priorities.
  • Design and facilitate 2 Focus Groups. We envision these will be closed-session, invitation-only, facilitator-led discussions with randomly selected residents. One or both will focus on economic development and the Tolland Village Area. We anticipate no more than 20 people would attend each Focus Group. Town staff will handle selecting participants and sending invitations.
  • Prepare a summary of findings, implications and strategic advice based on the public input.
  • Staff may conduct one additional e-survey if necessary.

End of Process (verifying):

  • Staff will conduct a public meeting and the public hearing after a draft plan is prepared. No consultant services are anticipated at this stage.

Budget Considerations

  • It is anticipated that $35,000 will be available for consulting services. The total budget request to update the POCD is for $50,000, but $15,000 is reserved for the telephone survey which will be contracted for separately by the town. $20,000 is in the Fiscal Year 2018 budget and the additional funds will be requested in the FY 2019 budget.
  • Digital products are acceptable since the town has the ability to print color work products as needed.
  • Specialized materials, such as materials for public workshops, will need to be provided by the consultant.
  • The town will be responsible for publicizing workshops and milestones in the process and will manage a webpage dedicated to the project on the town’s website.

Timeframe

We anticipate work to begin within one month of awarding the contract, with a goal of late February or early March as a start date. We would like to see the “beginning of process” public outreach occur March through June, with the more focused outreach starting in June and continuing into early fall. The goal is to have most of the consultant’s work completed by January 2019 so that staff has time to draft the full POCD. 4

Submittal Instructions

By Monday, January 8, 2018 at 4:00 p.m.:

  • Submit 4 paper copies of the proposal
  • Email a pdf of the proposal to hsamokar@tolland.org.

Submittals shall include:

  • Brief overview of the firm.
  • Detailed scope of work.
  • Overview of key personnel, with roles and responsibilities of each person clearly identified.
  • Three references for which similar services have been provided.
  • Lump sum cost for each task. Mileage and all direct expenses should be included in the lump sum.
  • Hourly rates in case additional services are needed

Selection Process

A subcommittee of staff and two members of the Planning and Zoning Commission will review and rank proposals. The full Planning and Zoning Commission will conduct interviews of the top ranked firms / individuals during an evening meeting, with a goal of making a selection by the end of January or early February.

Proposals will be evaluated based on:

  • Experience with this type of project and process.
  • Professional and educational experience of personnel assigned to the project.
  • Approach to accomplishing the requested services.
  • Ability to perform the required work within the project period.
  • Relevance, brevity and overall quality of the submittal.
  • Fees / rates / cost assignment.

This RFP does not commit the Town to award a contract or pay any cost incurred in the preparation of a proposal. The Town reserves the right to accept or reject any or all proposals or parts of proposals received as a result of this request. Additionally, the Town reserves the right to waive irregularities contained in proposals received. Finally, the Town reserves the right to cancel this RFP in part or in its entirety if in its sole determination it is in the best interest to do so.

Contact

Questions are welcomed. Contact Heidi Samokar, AICP, Director of Planning and Development, hsamokar@tolland.org, 860-871-3601.

Any questions received December 22 to January 1 will not be answered until January 2.

Resources

The 2009 Plan of Conservation and Development and other plans and studies can be found at: https://www.tolland.org/planning-development/pages/planning

The zoning regulations are currently being rewritten. The existing regulations can be found at https://www.tolland.org/planning-development/pages/zoning

This RFP and a recent presentation to the Town Council on the POCD update can be found at: https://www.tolland.org/planning-development/pages/2019-plan-conservation-development-update

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