RFQ: Mixed-Use / Multi-Family Objective Design Standards & Prototypes / Incentives for ADUs

City of Piedmont Planning & Building Department
Monday June 22, 2020
Location: Piedmont, CA

In response to recent housing legislation, the City of Piedmont is inviting statements of qualifications from experienced planning and design consultants (or consultant teams) to develop housing programs, including: (1) objective design standards for mixed-use and multi-family residential projects, (2) prototype plans and incentives for rent-restricted accessory dwelling units, (3) programs to affirmatively further fair housing, and (4) associated public outreach and environmental review.

Project Timeline: Adoption by City Council by January 15, 2022.
Contact: Kevin Jackson, AICP, Director - attention of Pierce Macdonald-Powell, Senior Planner
[email protected] - (510) 420-3063

1. Introduction
Located in Alameda County, approximately 10 miles east of San Francisco, Piedmont is completely encircled by Oakland and has no opportunities for annexation. Since 1907, Piedmont’s “landlocked” setting has influenced its development patterns and significantly affects its potential for new housing and employment today. The City encompasses 1.7 square miles—virtually all of it fully developed at residential densities on par with neighboring cities. Piedmont is regarded within the region as a desirable residential community. The City’s proximity to employment centers, coupled with its excellent schools, low crime rate, historic architecture, and beautiful parks contribute to this image. More than 90 % of the land is developed with housing and 9 % consists of schools, parks, and churches. Piedmont has less than 4 acres of commercial land. The largest employers are the Piedmont Unified School District and the City of Piedmont municipal organization. The City has no industrial land and no Planned Unit Development zones.

The trends in Piedmont’s housing market reflect the fact that the City has been built out for over 50 years. Real estate transactions primarily consist of the sale of high-end single-family homes, built before 1960. New home construction since 1980 has averaged just one to two units a year. For the past three decades, the City has had a highly effective design review and planning program to guide remodels and new construction. This program has enabled the City to retain the scale of its neighborhoods and preserve many of its smaller homes. Piedmont has a very small supply of rental housing, consisting of approximately 50 conventional apartments, and approximately 300 accessory dwelling units.

At the present time, there are fewer than 60 vacant lots in the city. These lots are scattered throughout Piedmont and comprise a combined total of approximately 12 acres of land. The number of lots that are actually buildable is much smaller. Many of Piedmont’s vacant lots are constrained by steep slopes, narrow streets, or inadequate street frontage, and many are owned by adjacent property owners and are in use as yards or gardens. Opportunities for affordable housing on such sites are extremely limited. Piedmont has almost no land suitable for conventional redevelopment, nor does it have public land that might be made available for future housing. The City’s commercial acreage supports about two dozen active businesses and ancillary storage uses.

In 2013, the City modified its commercial zoning district (Zone D) along Oakland Avenue and near Highland and Vista Avenues to include mixed-use multi-family development. In 2017, the City updated the development standards for Zone D to better accommodate mixed-use multi-family development. Zone C, multi-family zoning district, consists of a cluster of parcels near the intersection of Oakland and Linda Avenues and a few lots amongst those in the Zone A district. The City Charter requires a citywide election for the rezoning of any parcel of land to a use other than single-family residential, making “upzoning” (e.g., zoning to allow higher densities) challenging. Since the 1990s, the City has found that the most effective housing program is to actively encourage the production of accessory dwelling units.

In response to recent housing legislation, the City of Piedmont is inviting statements of qualifications from qualified planning and design consultants (or consultant teams) to develop housing programs, including:

(1) objective design standards for mixed-use and multi-family residential projects,

(2) prototype plans and incentives for rent-restricted accessory dwelling units (“ADUs” and “JADUs”), and

(3) associated environmental review documents.

The respondents to our request for qualifications will be evaluated and contacted to provide additional details. The selected consultant or consultant team will be invited to negotiate the terms of a project contract.

2. Background
As part of the 2017 CA Legislative Housing Package, Senate Bill 35 requires that local jurisdictions provide a streamlined ministerial approval process for multi-family residential developments that meet specific eligibility requirements. Eligible developments must include a specified level of affordability, be on an infill site, comply with existing residential and mixed-use general plan or zoning provisions, and comply with other requirements such as locational and demolition restrictions. Government Code requirements for the City’s inventory of available land have also changed. A key consideration for the development of the Project’s design standards will be on which specific sites the City should anticipate new housing.

In addition to the 2017 Legislative Housing Package, there are have been numerous bills in recent years which focus on promoting the development of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). The City would like to further encourage ADUs through additional local efforts. ADUs, as provided in the Piedmont Municipal Code, are currently allowed in all zoning districts. It is the City’s intent to utilize the SB 2 Planning Grants Program (“Program”) planning funds and other grant funding (e.g. Local Early Action Planning grant funds) available to local jurisdictions throughout California for planning activities that demonstrate a nexus to increasing housing production.

As provided for in the SB 2 Planning Grant Program, the contract with the selected consultant for the Project is required to provide for compliance with all the requirements of the Program, including expenses and reimbursements, clear deliverables, and records retention. Please contact Senior Planner Pierce Macdonald-Powell for a copy of the Program requirements at [email protected].

3. Project Outline
The City of Piedmont invites statements of qualifications from experienced planning and design consultants or consultant teams. It will be the selected consultants’ responsibility to complete the following tasks by January 15, 2022 with the goal of creating increased capacity for a minimum of 50 new mixed-use multifamily housing units and 270 new affordable ADUs and JADUs in Piedmont:

Multi-Family Housing and Mixed-Use Projects:

  • Evaluate the Housing Element’s available land inventory, making recommendations for retention of existing sites and identifying possible additional sites to include possible zoning district changes to accommodate more accessory dwelling units and mixed-use, multi-family and townhouse development, meeting state and federal code regulations.
  • In light of California density bonus law, review possible building types under Piedmont zoning ordinance for zones C and D. Prepare an economic feasibility study and analyze a minimum of one multi-family and one mixed-use development scenario, considering land cost, possible rents, tax credits, and market demand, and identify possible sources to fill funding gaps.
  • Identify the characteristics of existing multi-family and mixed-use sites, as well as adjacent properties, including prominent architectural style, streetscape pattern, access, building materials, building articulation, landscape, window and door design and materials, and other characteristics. 
  • Analyze requirements and consider best practices for “objective zoning standards” and “objective design review standards” for multi-family and mixed-use development. Develop objective standards for construction of new multi-family and mixed-use residential buildings in Piedmont’s multi-family and commercial zoning districts, zones C and D. Recommendations on design standards should meet requirements in applicable law including those in SB 35 and SB 330.
  • Develop standards to support sustainability, green building practices, and community health in housing production in Piedmont, including best practices to design housing for all ages and backgrounds with energy-efficient construction, efficient site planning, amenities supporting public health, and planning for ADA and transit access.

Accessory Dwelling Unit Housing:

  • Review regulations for ADUs for conformance with State of California law and consistency with local best practices.
  • Survey the City’s existing accessory dwelling units for actual rents, demographics, condition, and tenure of the occupant(s).
  • Identify available incentives for affordable ADU construction such as county, state, and federal grant programs for income-restricted ADUs and collaborate with one or more non-governmental organization with expertise in affordable housing.
  • Recommend updates to the Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance, Division 17.38 to create new incentives for the construction of ADUs that are affordable to residents with low and very low incomes. Prepare draft regulations as may be requested.
  • Develop prototype ADU and JADU elevations and floor plans for typical features in three architectural styles (Craftsman, Tudor, and Spanish Colonial), including garage conversions. The construction level documents shall be designed to comply with applicable law, including the 2019 California Building Standards Code as amended by local ordinance.

Programs to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing:

  • Pursuant to AB 686 (Santiago), prepare a strategic plan for new programs to affirmatively further fair housing, including a community-wide survey and a public meeting to discuss local approaches to inclusivity and fair housing. New programs could include inclusionary zoning and a housing trust fund, city-initiated lot merger program, and re-zoning/PUD zoning.  Prepare analysis of prohousing policies pursuant to CA Housing and Community Development Department guidance.

Public Outreach and Environmental Review:

  • Hold a minimum of four stakeholder meetings.
  • Draft ordinance and design guidelines for Planning Commission and City Council review and action
  • Present ordinance and design guidelines to Planning Commission and City Council at public hearings.
  • Prepare associated environmental review documents, including at a minimum an Initial Study pursuant to Appendix G of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Guidelines.

Please see Table F of the Funding Agreement for project timeline and deliverables.

4. Organization of Statement
Please prepare and organize your submittal based upon the requirements provided below. Any other information you would like to include should be placed in a separated section at the back of your submittal. Please note that the submittal is limited to four (4) pages maximum (excluding resumes) and should be submitted on 8 ½” x 11” paper, in 12-point font. Please submit four copies and a PDF of your proposal.

A. Introduction
A general introduction and description of the proposed approach and methodology shall be provided. The format of the introduction and description of the approach is at the discretion of the consultant, but it should include a short discussion of the intended approach to the project which succinctly demonstrates the consultant’s understanding of all applicable housing law requirements and the consultant’s ability to successfully address them.

B. Personnel, Equipment and Facilities
Identify key personnel, their qualifications, and specific responsibilities. Describe the activities of the designated Project Manager, and lead and supporting personnel. Provide resumes for those named. If there is a team of consultants, the lead consultant should be clearly designated. If desired, the respondent to this RFQ may assemble a consultant team under one primary consultant with subconsultant(s) in different areas of expertise. The statement shall list all sub-consultants that may be proposed for this project.

C. Qualifications and References
Provide a description of your project team’s qualifications and a list of similar, completed projects, as well as similar projects underway. Provide at least three (3) references (names and current phone numbers) from previous similar work (last five years). Include a brief description of the role associated with the reference, and the role of the respective team member.

D. Conflict of Interest
The consultant must provide a list of any potential conflicts of interest in working for the City of Piedmont. This must include, but is not limited to, a list of your firm’s clients who are the following: private clients located or operating within the City of Piedmont limits, and/or the County of Alameda, and a brief description of work for these clients. The consultant must also identify any other clients (including public entities) that may pose a potential conflict of interest, as well as a brief description of work you provide to these clients.

Principals and those performing work for City of Piedmont may be required to submit a California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) Form 700: Statement of Economic Interests documenting potential financial conflicts of interest. For additional information, proposers should refer to the FPPC website at www.fppc.ca.gov/index.php?id=500.

E. Comments on City Standard Consulting Services Agreement
Attachment A to this request for qualifications is a copy of the City’s Standard Consulting Services Agreement (“Agreement”), which will need to be executed prior to the commencement of consultant work on the project. This may need to be amended to address the requirements of SB 2 Planning Grant Program. The proposal should include a statement that the Agreement has been reviewed and is acceptable to the consultant and that the consultant will also adhere to the requirements of the SB 2 Planning Grant Program, should the firm be selected. Alternatively, the consultant shall submit a statement that the Agreement would need to be modified and noting those specific modifications.

5. Criteria
The City of Piedmont desires to retain the services of a firm or consultant team that has significant design experience. Primary consideration will be given to the general appropriateness of the consultant or consultant team for the project, the technical competence and ability of the consultants (as described in the statement), the experience of the consultant in projects of a similar nature, references, and the firm’s willingness to work closely with City staff. The City reserves the right to reject all statements of qualifications that are inappropriate, inadequate, or incomplete.

The City of Piedmont encourages the participation of all persons regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, familial status, or disability. Upon evaluation of the statements of qualifications, the highest rated firm or firms may be invited to negotiate a final agreement. If an agreement is not reached, negotiations may be terminated and commenced with the next most qualified firm or firms. The recommendation of the Planning & Building Director will be submitted by the City Council for award of contract.

6. Limitations

  • All reports and pertinent data or materials shall be the sole property of the State of California. The consultant and any subconsultant(s) forego their right to copyright any materials development as part of this proposal or contract, including but not limited to the objective design guidelines, prototype plans, and environmental review documents.
  • The City reserves the right to extend the time allotted for the FRQ, to question or interview interested parties regarding their qualifications or proposals, to request copies of previous work prepared by the consultant and to request a best and final offer, should the City deem that it is in its best interests to do so.
  • This RFQ does not commit the City to award a contract, or to pay any costs incurred in the preparation of the proposal. The City reserves the right to accept or reject any or all statements of qualifications received as a result of this request, to negotiate with any qualified consultant, or to cancel this request in part or in its entirety. The City may require the selected consultant to participate in negotiations and to submit such technical, price, or other revisions of their proposals as may result from negotiations.

7. Submittal Deadline
Please submit your statement of qualifications, by mail, by no later than 5:00 p.m. on Monday, June 22, 2020 (postmarked June 22, 2020 accepted). Any questions about this RFQ should be directed to Pierce Macdonald-Powell, Senior Planner, via email ([email protected]) or phone (510-420-3063).

Information about the City of Piedmont and all attachments to the RFQ may be found on the City’s website at https://piedmont.ca.gov/government/city_news___notifications/housing_pr…



Posted June 10, 2020

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