Request for Proposals

Unified Code for Sustainable Development

Dona Ana County

Las Cruces, NM

Posted: 10/09/2012
Submittal Deadline: 11/06/2012


Doña Ana County, New Mexico (DAC), on behalf of the Camino Real Regional Leadership Committee (RLC), is soliciting proposals from a highly qualified consultant (individual or team) to assist in the preparation of a Unified Code for Sustainable Development (Code). The Code will be a single document that includes all development-related regulations, such as zoning, subdivision, design and development standards.

The Code will reflect the different characteristics and priorities found throughout the region e.g. rural, colonias, suburban, compact and central city. The Code can be a hybrid incorporating elements of traditional Euclidean zoning, performance-based zoning, context-based zoning, and others.

The creation of a Unified Code for Sustainable Development (Code) should broadly incorporate the following seven (7) characteristics based on all input from the Engagement and Education process, analysis of the physical conditions of the County and the existing Codes and Ordinances, plus the Comprehensive Plan for Sustainable Development:

1. Addresses and conforms to HUD’s three recognized dimensions of sustainability:
• Environment;
• Community; and
• Economy;
2. Incorporates the Federal Partnership’s six Livability Principles:
• Provide More Transportation Choices
• Promote Equitable, Affordable Housing
• Enhance Economic Competiveness
• Support Existing Communities
• Coordinate Policies & Leverage Investment
• Value Communities & Neighborhoods
3. Incorporates Comprehensive Plan for Sustainable Development’s (CPSD) eight additional livability principles:
• Implement Smart Growth
• Organize a Multifaceted Water Management System
• Improve Air Quality
• Conserve Natural Resources
• Mitigate Natural Hazards
• Develop Sustainable Utilities
• Build Quality Homes and Quality Communities
• Provide Meaning to the Livability Principles of the Comprehensive Plan
4. Consistent with and provides a nexus to the Comprehensive Plan for Sustainable Development
5. Unifies all development codes, including zoning, subdivision regulations, development design standards and other ordinances into a single code document
6. Digital and user-friendly format assists navigation of the document by consolidating requirements and inserting hyperlinks throughout the document
7. Serves as the development code available to all local governments for use within Doña Ana County, New Mexico.

It is anticipated the consultant will generally perform the following services:

1 — Engagement and Education (E&E)
The E&E Section of the Code will describe the various public participation methods used in the development of the Code. This project will involve a high degree of public engagement/participation.

Stakeholders such as local elected officials, residents, businesses, agencies, and organizations will be strongly encouraged to participate throughout the planning process. The Code Consultant is required to work in conjunction with the Engagement and Education Consultant for the duration of the planning project regarding all public meetings and any planning activities associated with the public engagement process. The Code Consultant will work under the general guidance of the Engagement and Education Consultant to develop strategies that maximize public outreach particularly to those in underrepresented communities. Specific public engagement, education, and participation activities that the Code Consultant will be responsible for throughout this project will include:

1. A Code Project Committee has been formed with representation from the nine (9) Consortium members and other local interest groups. The Code Project Committee will meet at least on a bi-monthly basis (once every two months) throughout the planning project to brainstorm ideas and issues, and review draft recommendations. Consultant will attend, prepare meeting materials, and submit planning progress reports at these meetings.
2. In collaboration with the Engagement and Education Consultant, the Code Consultant will establish a stakeholder committee for the Code. The stakeholder committee will reflect the diverse populations found in the planning area: landowners, developers, builders, farmers, business owners, employers, municipalities, colonia residents, etc. with particular emphasis on generally underrepresented populations.
3. Public workshops, charrettes, and informational meetings will be held during the course of the planning process to brainstorm ideas and issues for the Code. The Code Consultant will attend, prepare meeting materials, and facilitate meetings. The selected Code Consultant will propose a public engagement plan to include at minimum: quantity and purpose of public meetings, workshops, charrettes, etc.; approximate project schedule timeline for public involvement including benchmarks; and successful experience.
4. All public meetings and associated materials (handouts, literature, surveys, etc.) will be available in both English and Spanish. Consultant will coordinate with the Engagement and Education Consultant to have all materials translated into Spanish prior to any public meetings.
5. Collaborate with the Engagement and Education Consultant to develop specific marketing, branding, and communications tools to promote the project during the planning process as well as develop materials to market the Code as a development tool.

As part of the public meetings and workshops, the consultant will provide presentations and written materials regarding basic planning concepts and why good planning is essential for a healthy local economy and livable, sustainable communities.

2 — Existing Conditions Analysis
Previously compiled and adopted development codes will be provided and used and/or incorporated when applicable. Emphasis will be on the identification of physical development of communities and conditions that may influence or affect the Code and may include but not be limited to the zoning, subdivision and design and development standards for Doña Ana County, the City of Las Cruces, the Town of Mesilla, the Village of Hatch, the City of Anthony, and the City of Sunland Park.

3 — Unified Code for Sustainable Development (Code)
Based upon the analysis of existing codes, existing communities and the Comprehensive Plan for Sustainable Development (CPSD) the consultant will develop standards and development procedures for all land use and development within the region that are scalable from rural to urban settings that integrate sustainable development, including reductions in energy costs, to all communities and areas in the county. Recognizing that the major land use development code types in the United States have developed and evolved for different reasons and have varying levels of success in promoting sustainability, the proposed USCD for Doña Ana County must:

1. Provide a consistent frame of reference for development in all jurisdictions within Doña Ana County;
2. Be mindful of local conditions affecting enforcement of development regulations;
3. Promote consideration of Livability Principles to development activity in Doña Ana County; and
4. Optimize the probability of its successful adoption and implementation by all applicable jurisdictions in Doña Ana County.

4 — Plan for Use of the Code
It is anticipated that the Code will streamline the overall development approval and permitting process. It is also anticipated that the Code will further protect and promote the public health, safety, comfort, convenience, prosperity and general welfare of residents and businesses throughout the region. The Code will connect with the livability principles of the Comprehensive Plan for Sustainable Development (CPSD) by establishing sustainable standards of design for subdivision, classification and regulation of the uses of land and structures within the region consistent with the CPSD Future Land Use Plan Map.

The consultant will propose and detail a transition plan for use of the Code by all six local governments. The transition plan will recommend how the existing ordinances can be transitioned to the Code and will address such actions as:

1. Presentation of the proposed Code to all six governmental entities;
2. Training for all local government staff, planning and zoning commissions and the development community in the use of the Code — this action may include development and use of a Standard Operations Manual and video-based modules;
3. Preparation of a Regional Zoning Plan Map consistent with the classification of land within the Code and a potentially more general CPSD Future Land Use Plan Map; and
4. Description of the processes by which each of the six (6) local governments may consider adoption and/or implementation of the proposed Code including rezoning of individual lots.