POSTED ON FEBRUARY 2, 2011:
In the Zone
The city seeks ideas for updating its zoning rules
City officials are seeking proposals from firms interested in helping the city update its zoning code, one of the action steps outlined in the PLANiTULSA draft strategic plan released last summer.
City planner Martha Schultz, who oversaw the preparation of the 31-page request for proposals, said it was released on Jan. 27. Any firm interested in submitting a proposal must do so by March 23, she said.
"We're not trying to rewrite the whole zoning code and not change the mapping. The mapping is a big deal," she said, adding that that exclusion is clearly indicated in the RFP.
Schutlz and Terry Simonson, the mayor's chief of staff, both have previously estimated the cost of the project at $250,000 to $300,000. The update of the zoning code became necessary when the city updated its comprehensive plan last year. The current zoning code reflects the goals outlined in the former comprehensive plan, which is more than 30 years old.
Schultz said she had no idea how many firms might submit a bid, but she said when the city sought proposals from firms interested in helping it update its comprehensive plan in 2007, it got nine good proposals. That list was narrowed to a handful of finalists, who were then called into to make presentations and go through interviews.
Schultz said in this case, a selection panel would make a recommendation about which firm is hired to help update the code.
"The mayor is the in the process of assembling that to evaluate proposals," she said. "That is something that is typically done in most communities. These would be people who are well positioned to point out the shortcomings of the local code and be aware of innovations they have worked with in other communities. So that gives you a lot of balance."
A pre-proposal conference for interested parties will be held at 10am on Feb. 25 on the 5th floor of City Hall, she said. That will permit firms considering placing a bid to ask questions about the RFP.
Schutlz, who has worked on the RFP since October 2010 and who played an integral role in the PLANiTULSA process, was happy to see the RFP go out last week.
"Oh, yeah, this was good," she said, laughing. "This was the No. 1 strategy in the strategic plan, to update the zoning code. It's regulatory, and that's where things happen. The comprehensive plan is policy, but it's a guide. The zoning codes are regulatory, and that's really where the implementation can and does occur."
Schutlz said the city's Purchasing Department will oversee the RFP process at this point, though she will maintain a keen interest in what happens.
"Our goal, and purchasing's goal, is to maintain a level playing field," she said. "If the process is perceived to be unfair, we'll have to start over. We don't want that. Want to keep going."
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