Memo for fiscal year 2018, updated 2017-03-30

[Archived] Question #26: Can you please provide funding/staffing alternatives to accelerate land-use planning initiatives contained in the proposed FY 2018 Interdepartmental Long Range Planning Work Program?


Can you please provide funding/staffing alternatives to accelerate land-use planning initiatives contained in the proposed FY 2018 Interdepartmental Long Range Planning Work Program?


Note: This response has been updated to include an additional 0.5 FTE ($60,000) required for the Green Building Policy inadvertently omitted from the original response. The total cost of the Green Building Policy has been revised from $75,000 to $135,000.

The Long Range Planning Work Program for FY 2018 includes an Eisenhower East Phase I plan update, a Strategic Facilities Plan, an Environmental Action Plan update, affordable housing amendments to the Southwest Quadrant (Route 1 South) Plan, Mount Vernon Avenue pedestrian safety, and other parking, housing, and demographic studies. Staff does not recommend accelerating the program to include additional projects in FY 2018 due to organizational capacity beyond Planning & Zoning (City senior staff, City Council and other elected/appointed officials) and the community’s ability to participate in multiple major ongoing projects.

Eisenhower East Phase II and a Green Building Policy are two projects that were specifically raised by some Councilmembers during the work session on the Long Range Planning Work Program in January, so staff is using those projects as the basis for providing the requested cost estimates. The cost to execute those two projects in FY 2018 would be $865,000 for Eisenhower East Phase II and $135,000 for the Green Building Policy.1 The costs include $470,000 for four additional FTEs in planning and Zoning and T&ES and $395,000 for outside technical assistance for Eisenhower East Phase II. The cost also include $60,000 for one 0.5 FTE and $75,000 for outside technical assistance for the Green Building Policy.2

The Eisenhower East Phase II project is currently proposed to begin in January 2020. Staff is not recommending that this planning effort be accelerated, because there is more than sufficient development already approved, approvable under the existing plan, or anticipated to be approvable under the Phase I master plan amendment (scheduled for hearing in September) to meet market demand prior to the proposed start of Eisenhower East Phase 2. In addition, the capacity constraints that generally limit the City to two small area plans at any one time are not solely internal front-line staff and technical consultant resources; there is also a capacity limit at the decision-making level: senior City staff, elected and appointed officials, and the public. Staff is examining the small area planning process now to identify how it can be streamlined, but the potential here is a shorter duration of the time it takes to complete a plan, rather than an increase in the number of plans going on at any one time. If any project is accelerated, staff recommends that it not start before July 2018. This would allow other planning projects to be completed and one of the other small area plans to get under way. It is not advisable to have three plans start and end at the same time – they need to be staggered for a variety of reasons, including supervisory capacity and dates for community meetings and public hearings.

Staff recommends that work on the Environmental Action Plan take priority over starting work on tasks related to the Green Building Policy. Several variations of a potential Green Building work program have been discussed, including options for a somewhat limited set of priority tasks. This estimate assumes that instead of a comprehensive overhaul of the green building policy, urban forestry master plan, or landscape guidelines, the work program will instead focus on the limited set of priority tasks related to these documents. There is not yet agreement as to which tasks are the priorities, what the criteria are for selecting priorities, and who should be involved in the selection of the priorities, so this would be step one of this project. For this estimate, the assumption is that the work program would consist of two planning processes at a time.  

[1] Green Building Policy estimate revised from $75,000 to $135,000 to include one 0.5 FTE inadvertently omitted from the previous response.

[2] Eisenhower East Phase II staffing includes one Principal Planner, one Planner I, and one 0.5 FTE seasonal Senior Planning Technician in Planning & Zoning ($260,000); and one 0.5 FTE Traffic Engineer, one 0.5 FTE Sewer Engineer, and one 0.5 FTE Principal Planner in T&ES ($210,000). Eisenhower East Phase II outside technical assistance includes infrastructure impact analysis ($320,000) and economic/financial analysis ($75,000). Green Building Policy staffing includes one 0.5 FTE Planner III in Planning & Zoning for the life of the project.

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