Comprehensive Plan & Zoning Code Update

Agency: American Planning Association
State: Federal
Type of Government: State & Local
NAICS Category:
  • 541310 - Architectural Services
  • 541330 - Engineering Services
  • 541611 - Administrative Management and General Management Consulting Services
Posted Date: Jun 8, 2021
Due Date: Jun 28, 2021
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Comprehensive Plan & Zoning Code Update City of Oskaloosa

Oskaloosa, IA

A full copy of the RFP is available at .


The City of Oskaloosa, Iowa ("City") is seeking proposals from qualified professional consultants, or teams of consultants ("Consultant"), to update the City's Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Code.


The Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Code update will assist the City Council and the Planning & Zoning Commission in identifying a common direction identified by residents, business owners, stakeholders, and the community. The plan will help to establish a shared vision for the future and an action plan to achieve it. The planning process will consider the realities of changing economic and demographic conditions while building broad community consensus on the key values that define the City of Oskaloosa. This effort will integrate the community's future visions, goals, and policies for implementation over the next 10 to 20 years. In general, this effort will:

  • Build on past and current plans and documents;
  • Seek valuable public input toward the creation of new community goals and objectives;
  • Consider local, regional, national, and global trends/challenges and their implications for Oskaloosa;
  • Update existing and create new implementation priorities;
  • Provide resources to appropriately guide new development and redevelopment within the community while meeting the demands that come with community growth; and
  • Build support for the creation and adoption of new policies.


The following represents a preliminary approach and basic framework to be included in the scope of work. In addition, the consultant will be expected to consider and apply Iowa Smart Planning Principles as required by the Iowa State Code. It should be noted that the City is open to new, innovative approaches to the planning and zoning process as long as public input and desired collective outcomes are maintained.

Comprehensive Plan

  • Community assessment. The Comprehensive Plan update should begin with a broad assessment to identify the most important issues and desirable qualities for Oskaloosa. This will also include a review of recent and prior planning-related documents.
  • Strengths and weaknesses. Identification of key strengths and liabilities/problems affecting the community.
  • Existing conditions. Assembling and analyzing data regarding existing conditions. This may include traditional approaches such as demographics, windshield surveys, and aerial imagery. It may also include alternative, modern approaches to data collection.
  • Strategy-oriented approach. This will be arranged to address all identified issues and objectives such as land use, transportation, public services, parks and greenways housing and neighborhoods, and others as determined by the community. Recommendations will be presented in a graphics-rich and easy-to-reference format. The content will include a mix of text, tables, and full-color photos, drawings/sketches, renderings, and maps.
  • Implementation. This will include a schedule that is easy to reference and will aid in future implementation of the plan.
  • Public input. Citizen input is essential. The planning process should be structured to maximize citizen involvement and participation. The consultant will be encouraged to propose a process that is both creative and interactive, with multiple approaches to reach a large, diverse population.
  • Project web presence. A website, social media, and/or other online resources will be utilized throughout the project to communicate the project schedule, meeting dates, participation opportunities, key components, and contact information. The consultant will provide web-ready graphics and imagery and may assist with site hosting.

Zoning Code

  • Review of newly adopted Comprehensive Plan. All applicable goals, objectives, and implementation strategies will be reviewed and identified to ensure the new zoning code will be consistent.
  • Analysis/diagnosis of codes. An assessment with staff on advantages, shortcomings, and gaps in the existing Zoning code to assist in clarifying needed areas of updating. This will include a review of the existing map, zoning districts, special and overlay districts, and any existing Planned Unit Developments regarding ongoing need/relevance. While a thorough code review will be expected, due to periodic and recent updates staff anticipates that certain provisions of the existing code, and perhaps entire sections (Chapter 17.36, Floodplain Management, for example), may transfer with little to no change. This assessment will also include a review of the city's brief (18-page) Subdivision code at Title 16 to identify the extent of any necessary updates and consider a possible inclusion in the update writing and/or merger into the Zoning Code.
  • Public Engagement. Strategy to educate and inform the public on the code update process, solicit input, conduct regular meetings and develop content for use/distribution through the City's social media and other communication platforms.
  • Tables and graphics. For ease of reference, the use of tables and illustrative graphics should be maintained and incorporated into the new document, as determined by the project team. The appearance and functionality of these features should be suitable for printed documents and also in the web/electronic version published by the city's codifying service.
  • Draft Document(s). The consultant will prepare draft updates to the Zoning Code in its entirety (Title 17) for review by staff, culminating in a final version to be reviewed/adopted by the City Council, with recommendation from the Planning and Zoning Commission. This effort should include an impact evaluation of other sections of the Municipal Code that may need to be updated because of updates to the Zoning Code.
  • Legal input. The consultant's use of an attorney specializing in zoning code writing as part of the consulting team is welcome and encouraged. Oskaloosa's City Attorney may be available for occasional consultation but will have limited involvement in the day-to-day update process.
  • Project Meetings/Coordination: The consultant will develop a schedule and be available to present to staff, the Advisory Committee, Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council as needed throughout the update process.

The City will establish an Advisory Committee to help guide the consultant through the update process. The committee is expected to focus initially on the Comprehensive Plan update, followed by ongoing involvement with the Zoning Code update as determined by the consultant and city staff. The overall anticipated completion timeline of both updates is approximately 20 months.


The selected consultant will work under the direction of the Development Services Director and will be responsible for consultation with major stakeholder organizations, citizen boards, and the public and the following additional items:

  • General management of the project;
  • Drafting and preparation of plan and code documents, graphics, photos, mapping and other related items;
  • Data collection, analysis and presentation (with support from City staff);
  • Organization and facilitation of meetings (with support from City staff); and
  • Regular presentations to the Advisory Committee, Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council. At minimum, in-person site visits will be expected for: project kick-off, visioning or assessment, presentation of each document to P&Z Commission for recommendation, and presentation of each document to City Council for adoption.


  • Maps and GIS data. Existing city data will be made available to the consultant. Maps and associated data created by the consultant through the course of the project shall be provided to the City in ArcGIS format at conclusion.
  • Presentations, documents and report files shall be provided in their native format and also in printable/viewable PDF format. Documents and reports should also be provided in Microsoft Word format, if possible.
  • Formats and publication. The city wishes to make the Comprehensive Plan, Zoning Code, and Zoning Map available to the public predominately online and in digital formats which are functional and easy to access. The city anticipates that final documents will be hosted on the city's website at and with its codifying service (Municode). The following formats are desired, however, the city may consider other formats which improve usability.
    • The Comprehensive Plan should be provided in PDF format which includes clickable links to each section and subsection for quick reference. The format should also be downloadable and printable either partly or in whole. File size(s) should also be manageable for the end user. Plan files should also be provided in its native format and/or Microsoft Word to assist with future minor updates. Twenty (20) printed/bound copies of the final document are also preferred, but may be negotiated depending on cost.
    • The Zoning Code should be provided in Microsoft Word format, or other compatible format, for publication with City Council documents and its codifying service.
    • The Zoning Map shall be provided as ArcGIS data layer(s) compatible with the city's GIS system, and may also be requested in PDF format. Additionally, a GIS-based interactive web map which overlays zoning with the city's parcel data, aerial photos, and other information is strongly desired.


To facilitate review of the qualifications by the City of Oskaloosa, it is requested that submissions conform to the following format:

  1. Cover sheet: List the name of your firm, and the name, address, email, and telephone number of a contact person for questions concerning the proposal.
  2. Firm Background: Provide a general description of the capabilities of your firm, including information related to its history, overall size, location of company headquarters, local office location and type of business (partnership, corporation, etc.). Provide the location of the office where most of the work will be performed. For proposed sub-consultants, please provide the name of each firm, the office location, contact name, email, and telephone number and the services to be provided.
  3. References: Provide the name, address, email, and telephone number of at least three (3) municipal references familiar with the quality of work done by your firm.
  4. Project Team: Provide a project team list or organizational chart identifying the technical team members and sub-consultants proposed for this assignment, their availability, and a brief biography of each team member including specific experience, project roles, and office location where they currently work. Only staff to be directly involved in the execution of the project shall be included, with particular attention given to the project manager and technical staff. Provide project manager's current workload and ability to complete the project and meet all compliance schedule dates.
  5. Experience of the Firm: Briefly summarize the Project Team's relevant experience within the last 5-10 years. Select up to five (5) relevant projects that are similar in scope and magnitude to this project, and identify the role, if any, of the proposed Project Team members involved. Provide references for each project, including the name, position, physical address, phone number, and email address.
  6. Project Understanding and Approach: Based upon the information presented herein, provide a description of the overall approach the firm will take to complete this project. This should include any innovative concepts, ideas, and/or solutions that may be proposed for the project.
  7. Project Schedule: Indicate the approximate timelines for the completion of project milestones. This should include an indication of the personnel capacity to complete the project on time.
  8. Cost: Indicate the proposed compensation that clearly identifies all costs to be included in the project with a not-to-exceed fee.

The entire proposal must not exceed twenty (20) single-sided pages or ten (10) double-sided pages; excluding front and back covers, cover sheet, letter of introduction (maximum two pages), and any tab/divider sheets separating sections of the report.


The proposals will be evaluated and reviewed by a Consultant Selection Committee of city staff and officials. Listed below are the criteria that will be evaluated by the Committee in making a selection.

  1. Evaluation of the firm's ability to successfully complete all requirements as specified in this Request for Proposals (30%);
  2. Demonstrated experience of the firm, project manager, and proposed project team with similar projects involving the public sector (local governments) (30%);
  3. Demonstrated understanding of the project, ability to successfully complete the expected scope of work, expected site visits, and innovative approaches. (20%);
  4. Cost (15%); and
  5. References (5%).

Questions must be submitted no later than one week prior to the due date of the RFP submittal. Questions later than one week prior to submittal due date may not be considered. The Consultant Selection Committee will review the submitted proposals and make a selection based on the criteria requirements contained in this RFP. Contact with anyone other than as directed above would be considered inappropriate and may cause rejection of a submission.

All qualifications must be submitted no later than 2:00 p.m. (prevailing local time) on June 28th, 2021 to:

City of Oskaloosa Development Services
Attn: Shawn Christ
220 South Market Street
Oskaloosa, IA 52577
Phone: 641-673-9431


Provide five (5) hard copies of the proposal and one (1) electronic copy on a USB flash drive.

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Monday, June 28, 2021
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