Elm Riley Corridor Study
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The fnal version: Elm Riley Corridor Plan
On October 10, 2015, the Village Board authorized the solicitation of an RFP for the Elm Riley Comprehensive Plan at a total cost not to exceed $20,000. Members of the Planning Commission would serve as the steering committee but would also be looking to the community for input. Mr. Castle gave an overview of what the planning commission hopes to accomplish with the Elm – Riley Comprehensive Plan.
The Planning Commission with the assistance of a consultant is looking to take a proactive view on what can and should be done in the Elm Riley corridor in terms of zoning, demolition issues, signage and lighting. The goal for the comprehensive plan is to create guides for future development of the corridor, preserve the industrial heritage of the area, evaluate and protect future development, and preserve the organic redevelopment that’s happening there. The biggest reason behind doing a comprehensive plan is zoning, as right now it’s very inconsistent.
On December 7, 2015 further information was brought forth from the Planning Commission on the process involved for hiring a Planning Consultant:
Dan Castle, Planning Commission Chair reviewed with the Village Board the Elm Riley Corridor Study RFP process. The selection committee included himself and Planning Commission members Angela Griffis, Geoff Hintz, and Elm Street business owner, Alix Martin. All parties completed a conflict of interest statement identifying that no one has a vested interest in any of the firms. He noted that the Elm Riley corridor is an outdated mix of zoning. The work with the selected vendor is expected to start in January and end in May 2016. On Friday Nov 6th, the Selection Committee met to review all of the submitted proposals, and discuss next steps in hiring a Consultant for the Elm-Riley Corridor Study. The first round of reviews was intended to identify those consultants who submitted proposals that were compliant with the RFP. The proposal submitted by Carmina Woods-Hopkins, Sorgi & Romanowski was determined to be completely non-compliant with the minimum requirements as identified in the RFP. Carmina Woods approach involved “establishment of design standards for buildings and streetscapes” and “technical requirements for utility infrastructure and streetscape improvements”. Neither of these services was asked for in the RFP. The Hopkins Sorgi approach involved “drafting of zoning language” which also was not asked for in the RFP. Their proposal did not include a schedule, a detailed scope of work, any detail on public/stakeholder engagement, and no cost estimate.
Secondly, we wanted to identify all the firms that we felt “could do the work”. The basis of this determination was whether the Committee felt that the proposing team was capable of providing the basic planning, zoning, urban/landscape design, graphics, and public engagement services that would be required to successful complete the Corridor study. It was determined that Sustainable Planning Design (SPD) would not be able to provide the depth of services and disciplines required. This was based on the fact that this company is a 1-person company that just would not be able to provide the range of services expected. It was subsequently determined that the remaining 3 firms could all successfully accomplish the work, and that each of them would be invited to in-person interviews to be scheduled on December 20, 2015
Prior to the Interviews, and Comparative Evaluation Form was developed which included key factors that are critical to consider for each Consultant team. This was circulated to each Committee member.
Peter J. Smith and his team was the first team interviewed. This team has interesting past experience and qualifications throughout the US and internationally. However, their proposal did not identify a single corridor planning study in Erie County and no noted planning/zoning experience at all in NYS Villages. Relevant experience provided relies very heavily on international projects and projects in other states. Peter Smith did most of the talking, but the designated Project Manager did very little. The Committee was concerned about the strength of the proposed Project Manager his ability to lead our community thru this process. While no detailed SOW was included in their proposal, they did satisfactorily describe their proposed technical approach and public engagement program during the interview.
AECOM/Salvati team was the next team interviewed. This team has strong local experience and qualifications. Their Project Manager (Gary Palumbo) has solid local planning and zoning qualifications but all of relevant projects noted were in Towns and Cities (no experience noted working in Villages since 2002). Ms Salvati has experience in the Village of East Aurora. Their scope and schedule were detailed. Their public engagement approach was satisfactory, but not overly creative. There was a concern that the 2 individuals have been doing local planning work together for so long, that East Aurora would just get more of the same, and their interview confirmed this.
The Ingalls Planning & Design Team was interviewed third. This team has the most relevant planning, zoning, and design qualifications and experience in NYS Villages than any their team, although none was in Erie County. They actually talked about the nuances and challenges of planning within a Village, which demonstrated their sensitivity to issues that will need to be dealt with. The Committee was very impressed with the both of the key staff present. Matt Ingalls was very strong on planning and zoning issues in NYS. Ms. Micoli Soffa is strong on the landscape design elements. They proposed a unique and creative public engagement initiative. They also had the strongest experience with Corridor Planning that any of the other teams. While they had no demonstrated experience in Erie County, the Committee felt strongly that this team would bring a fresh perspective, creative approach, and the intangible “energy” that will help this project be successful. The Ingalls team was also the only team that mentioned funding that is available for municipalities to prepare/update Comprehensive Plans via the Regional Economic Development Councils (REDC) and NYSERDA. They have successfully gotten funding for their clients, and could help EA do the same if this is a route we want to pursue in the future.
Costs and proposed Schedule were evaluated for all teams. All teams were within the stated budget of $20,000, and thus scored equally. Carmina/Hopkins and SPD did not include a proposed schedule in their proposals, each of the other 3 teams proposed 6 month schedules as per the RFP. As such, these 3 firms were all considered competitive.
The Committee then went thru the Comparative Matrix for all 5 teams that submitted proposals (see attached). The committee wanted to see the scores for each team with all factors weighted equally. Scores for this are follows:
- Ingalls – 31
- AECOM – 29.5
- PJS – 23.5
- SPD – 15.5
- Carmina/Hopkins – 8
The Committee then evaluated the comparative Scoring for the 4 most important factors that the Committee had identified (strength of Project Manager, NYS Village experience, Corridor Planning experience, and quality of the public engagement/participation program). Scores for this focused evaluation were as follows:
- Ingalls – 12
- AECOM – 9.5
- PJS – 8.5
- SPD – 5.5
- Carmina/Hopkins – 2
Based on the above considerations, the Elm-Riley Corridor Consultant Selection Committee is unanimously recommending the hiring of Ingalls Planning & Design.