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File #: 2015-1198   
Type: Consent Calendar Item
Body: City Council
On agenda: 2/17/2015
Title: Recommendation to Award Contract in the Amount of $256,292 to Urban Planning Partners, Inc. to Prepare the Main Street Neighborhood Specific Plan for Alameda Point. (Base Reuse 819099)
Attachments: 1. Exhibit 1 - Map of Main Street Neighborhood Zoning Sub-District, 2. Exhibit 2 - Consultant Agreement
Recommendation to Award Contract in the Amount of $256,292 to Urban Planning Partners, Inc. to Prepare the Main Street Neighborhood Specific Plan for Alameda Point. (Base Reuse 819099)
To: Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: John A. Russo, City Manager
Re: Recommendation to award contract in the amount of $256,292 to Urban Planning Partners, Inc. to prepare the Main Street Neighborhood Specific Plan for Alameda Point
In November of 2014, after a competitive selection process, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) awarded a grant of $250,000 to the City of Alameda to prepare the Main Street Neighborhood Specific Plan (Specific Plan) for a 100-acre area (Exhibit 1) at the former Naval Air Station Alameda, commonly known as Alameda Point. A specific plan for the Main Street Neighborhood must be prepared and approved before new development can occur in the Main Street Neighborhood Sub-district, as required by the Alameda Point Zoning District (Alameda Municipal Code 30-4.24). A detailed specific plan was also required for the Waterfront Town Center sub-district, which was adopted by the City Council in July 2014 (Town Center Plan). As with the Town Center Plan, the proposed Specific Plan would lay out the development guidelines and regulations for future development within the Main Street Neighborhood. The Specific Plan does not commit the City to developing the area, nor does it diminish the City's absolute authority as landowner to decide how and when to pursue any development within the Main Street Neighborhood in the future. It merely determines the regulations under which future development could occur.
Over the last several years, the City engaged in a robust community outreach and participation process in drafting multiple documents that outline the community's vision for the mixed-use and transit-oriented development of Alameda Point. These documents, which were approved last year, include a Zoning Ordinance Amendment, which created the Alameda Point Zoning District, a Master Infrastructure Plan, an Environmental Impact Report, a Transportation Demand Management Plan for Alameda Point, and the Town Center Plan.
The Specific Plan would adopt form-based, transit supportive standards and regulations for the arrangement of public and private streets, public open space and parks, infrastructure, and associated private development consistent with the City's existing plan and policies for Alameda Point. The Specific Plan will also address how development within the Main Street Neighborhood will allow for the preservation and integration of historic structures - such as the former senior officer housing known as the "Big Whites." Additionally, the Specific Plan will create the planning framework and regulations necessary to cohesively incorporate the current plans to redevelop and consolidate the three existing supportive housing communities within the Main Street Neighborhood and enable these plans to come to fruition. Without it, their path forward remains uncertain.
As with all planning work, effective community participation will be essential for the successful adoption and implementation of the Specific Plan. For this purpose, the City will follow a broad-based community engagement strategy for Alameda Point, consisting of public hearings and workshops, stakeholder meetings, especially with the supportive housing providers, email blasts and social media, and newspaper articles and announcements. The City Council and Planning Board will be the primary bodies, working in close collaboration with MTC, to lead the planning effort and balance competing needs and priorities. However, all relevant boards and commissions will be consulted at key milestones in the planning process and the broader community will also be engaged.
The City issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) on September 11, 2014, to solicit proposals from a qualified team of consultants and firms consisting of professionals specializing in land use planning, architecture, urban design, landscape architecture, sustainable development, historic preservation, supportive housing, and community outreach and consensus-building. The RFP was posted on the City of Alameda's website and mailed directly to over 160 relevant consulting firms.
Selection Process
The City received five proposals which were reviewed by a selection committee that included staff from the Base Reuse and Community Development Departments, as well as a representative from the supportive housing communities. The committee recommended interviewing three of the firms, based on criteria that considered the proposer's past experience, the quality and experience of the project manager, the team's understanding and proposed approach to the project, and the ability to deliver the proposed scope of work within budget and schedule. The three teams were interviewed by representatives from the Planning Board, the Alameda Point Collaborative, the Alameda Association of Realtors, and staff from the Base Reuse and Community Development Departments.
The interview committee unanimously selected Urban Planning Partners, Inc. (UPP), with sub consultant Cultivate Studio assisting UPP with project management. This highly qualified team (UPP/Cultivate) provided an exceedingly well-thought out and comprehensive proposal focused on stakeholder outreach, a comprehensive analysis of various housing types and issues, and place-making through the use of public spaces. The UPP/Cultivate team includes Bruce Fukuji, an urban designer that specializes in supportive housing planning; the urban design firm Community Design + Architecture (CD+A) that specializes in sustainable streets; real estate economics consultant Bay Area Economics (BAE); historic preservation and adaptive reuse firm Page & Turnbull, and the urban agriculture firm Sustainable Agriculture Education (SAGE).
Both primary consultant UPP and sub consultant Cultivate have direct experience in the Bay Area working on Specific Plans in lower density residential communities similar to the Main Street Neighborhood, and received glowing praise from former clients in the public sector specifically for their ability to clearly communicate with stakeholder groups and for their skill in working with municipal government. Additionally, reflecting the existence of APC's Ploughshares nursery, their team includes an urban agricultural specialist who will be tasked with expanding on the use of agriculture as a community benefit.
The Principal-in Charge for this project, Lynette Dias with Urban Planning Partners, has over 20 years of planning experience focusing on planning policy and entitlement assistance for urban infill and reuse development projects. Her resume includes drafting the Master Plan for the development of the Truckee Railyard, environmental review and planning for redevelopment at the MacArthur BART station, and her current work for the City of Novato assisting with the residential developments within the now closed Hamilton Air Force Base, a project with similar constraints to the Main Street Neighborhood. Previously, she completed multiple Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs) associated with the disposal and reuse of NAS Alameda, and is therefore extremely familiar with the site.
The Project Manager for this project, Amie MacPhee with Cultivate Studios, is a landscape architect and environmental planner who has worked extensively helping communities use the planning process to distill community priorities into built environments. Her resume includes Specific Plan work in Solano County, a neighborhood design focused Master Plan in South Carolina, as well as previously assisting City staff in drafting the Conceptual Planning Guide and zoning amendment for Alameda Point.
Scope of Work
Specifically, UPP (with assistance from sub consultant Cultivate) will perform the tasks summarized below and detailed in the proposed contract. UPP's work will be performed in four tasks.
Task 1: Understand the Plan Area Today. UPP will review previous Alameda Point planning and technical documents, prepare a base map that will serve as a reference for the project going forward, host project kick-off meetings first with City staff and then stakeholders, and finally draft an existing conditions profile which will serve as a comprehensive summary of the site and its assets and constraints.
Task 2: Identify the Vision & Preferred Alternative. UPP will prepare a market assessment of various housing types and densities. Working off this market study and the meetings in Task 1, they will then prepare a series of site planning alternatives. These alternatives will be presented to key stakeholders and, upon review, a preferred alternative will be selected.
Task 3: Prepare the Plan. Working from the input gained from previous tasks, UPP will then draft the Specific Plan components into an administrative draft for internal City review. Upon incorporation of feedback, UPP will prepare a public review draft of the Specific Plan that will be made available for public comment and presented to the Planning Board  and City Council.
Task 4: Finalize the Plan. Based on comments received during the public engagement process, UPP will prepare a final draft of the Specific Plan for administrative review and Planning Board recommendation to City Council for adoption.
Next Steps
If the contract is approved, staff will immediately meet with UPP and MTC representatives to initiate the contract and to review project tasks and timeline. If the contract is not approved and plans for the Main Street Neighborhood are not pursued, City staff will notify MTC that the City withdraws its grant application and rejects the use of its $250,000 award of funding.
The total budget for the Specific Plan is $285,000. Under the MTC grant requirements, the MTC grant provides 80 percent of the funds ($250,000); the City as the grant applicant provides a match of 12 percent ($35,000) which will be provided through in-kind staff time. The City has allocated its portion for City staff time through the Base Reuse  Lease Revenue Funds (Fund 858). The MTC grant funds will be used solely for the UPP contract amount of $256,292.  There is no financial impact to the City's General Fund.
A specific plan for the Main Street Neighborhood must be prepared and approved before new development can occur in the Main Street Neighborhood Sub-district, as required by the Alameda Point Zoning District (Alameda Municipal Code 30-4.24).
This action is exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) under Section 15262 of the CEQA Guidelines (Feasibility and Planning Studies). The City has already completed an Environmental Impact Report that studies the Main Street Neighborhood Specific Plan.
Award contract in the amount of $256,292 to Urban Planning Partners, Inc. to prepare the Main Street Neighborhood Specific Plan for Alameda Point.
Respectfully submitted,
Jennifer Ott, Chief Operating Officer - Alameda Point
Lev Kushner, Project Manager
Financial Impact section reviewed,
Juelle-Ann Boyer, Interim Finance Director
1.      Map of Main Street Neighborhood Zoning Sub-district
2.      Consultant Agreement