Community Development Commission

Request for Qualifications for Environmental Review Services

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The first sentence under "Methodology" on page 4 should read, "Identify the appropriate level of environmental review and provide an outline of the process to complete the ERR for the four hypothetical projects listed below."

Background

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnership (HOME), and Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG) funding to the Commission on behalf of the County of Sonoma, the recipient, to administer programs to assist low- and moderate-income individuals and households throughout Sonoma County. Through an annual funding cycle, the Commission advertises the availability of the funds and receives proposals from non-profit organizations and units of local government. Through a defined public participation process, the proposals are reviewed, and recommendations are made to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors for funding approval. In the spring of each year, the Board affirms funding approval for the sponsors of programs and projects (the subrecipients) that best meet the current needs of the target populations.

 All projects or programs approved for funding must meet the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act and 24 CFR Part 58, HUD Environmental Review Regulations, before the Commission may enter into an agreement to provide funding to the subrecipient. The projects fall into four categories: 

  • Exempt per 24 CFR 58.34
  • Categorically Excluded not subject to statutes per 24 CFR 58.35(b)
  • Categorically Excluded subject to statutes per 24 CFR 58.35(a)
  • Environmental Assessment per 24 CFR 58.36

It is unlikely that the Commission will fund projects requiring an Environmental Impact Statement due to funding limitations. The environmental review of projects subject to §58.34 will be completed by Commission staff. All others will be undertaken by the Consultant selected under this request for qualifications (RFQ). The composition of the projects will change with each funding year, but it can be anticipated that two to three projects, but generally not more than five, will be subject to §58.36, and five to seven projects, but generally not more than 10, subject to §58.35(a) and (b).

Some projects may involve CEQA considerations, but such instances are rare. If CEQA evaluations are required, a separate proposal will be requested. Projects are situated in diverse areas throughout Sonoma County. Some projects may be located in FEMA-identified special flood hazard areas or may contain wetlands. All projects are subject to a thorough Section 106 review.  All environmental services performed under the professional service contract, attached, shall be under contract with the Commission and not the subrecipient receiving the project funding. The Certifying Officer is the Executive Director of the Commission. 

Other types of environmental review services, outside of the federal funding cycle, may be requested by the Commission on an as-needed basis. 

Prior agreements have had five-year terms and annual expenditures of roughly $10,000 - $20,000 and total not-to-exceed provisions of roughly $300,000. 

Scope of Services

Through the annual funding cycle described above, projects for an upcoming fiscal year (July 1 – June 30) will be approved by the Board of Supervisors typically in the first week of May. Other projects funded through state and local sources may also require environmental review on an ad-hoc basis. Upon approval of conditional funding awards to projects, the following will ensue: 

  1. The Commission will compile a listing of all projects funded and forward it to the Consultant.  Included will be electronic copies of the applications for funding as submitted and contact information for the entity submitting the application.
  2. The Consultant will review the project descriptions and contact the subrecipient to garner additional information as necessary to determine the appropriate level of environmental review and required timeframe for completion of the environmental review. Commission staff will serve as a liaison between the Consultant and subrecipient, as needed.
  3. The Consultant will provide the Commission with the determination of the level of environmental review, the projected start date, completion date, understanding of the project, scope of work, and fee schedule for each of the funded projects. The Consultant may, with prior approval of the Commission, complete all of the environmental reviews at the start of the fiscal year or spaced throughout the course of the year as individual projects near commencement, but in no case will any project be delayed waiting for the completion of the environmental review due to actions or inactions of the Consultant.
  4. Once the Commission has reviewed and approved the above, a notice to proceed will be issued, and the Consultant is authorized to begin the work.
  5. The Consultant will initiate all necessary consultations and studies to complete the environmental review as described in the HUD Environmental Review Regulations. The scope of this RFQ covers only the items necessary to complete that review. Separate studies (Phase I, geotechnical, biotic, archaeological, noise, traffic, etc.) that are required and known during the scoping stage shall be supplied to the Consultant by the subrecipient or, if not already obtained, included as an additional cost item in the Consultant's original fee schedule.  Additional studies and consultations required that arise after the scoping stage may be included; only if the Consultant has notified the Commission of the need for the additional services, along with the cost, prior to initiating those services, and has received an amended Notice to Proceed reflecting the increased cost. Section 106 review shall be conducted by the Consultant and included in the scope of work for each project. The Consultant will make a minimum of one site visit to examine and photo-document the location and surrounding environs and shall make additional visits as warranted.
  6. The Commission will publish all required public notices. The Consultant will provide the publication's text to Commission staff. The Consultant will also provide the Commission with the text of all correspondence with other regulatory agencies required (SHPO, COE, ACHP, etc.) and then package and mail/ship the information to the appropriate agency.
  7. The Consultant will compile all necessary information in the format specified by HUD for that level of environmental review and provide the Commission with one bound and one unbound copy for execution by the Certifying Officer. The final environmental review record will include all necessary source documentation presented in an orderly, easily understandable manner.
  8. The Consultant will assist the Commission in response to any public comments or questions received from HUD or any other federal or state regulatory agencies pertaining to the environmental review process. 

The Consultant will be solely responsible for all costs incurred during the environmental review process, including, but not limited to, travel time and costs, food, lodging, postage, shipping, reproductions, and subcontracts. The Consultant may submit one interim and one final payment request. The Commission will issue payment within 30 days of receipt of the invoice. 

 

Submission Requirements

Responses to this RFQ shall include, but need not be limited to, the following: 

Cover Letter and Introduction

A letter of introduction, which includes the name, address, telephone number, and email address of the contact person(s) authorized to represent your firm. This letter should be signed by an officer of the firm authorized to bind the firm to all commitments made in the response.

Project Overview

Provide a brief narrative description of the Scope of Services outlined above. Include any issues you believe may require special consideration. Discuss any alternatives to the Scope of Work you might recommend. Commission staff will assess your understanding of the objectives based on this overview. 

Qualifications and Experience

Provide descriptions of your firm's role, experience, and capability in providing specific NEPA and CEQA compliance services to other HUD-funded clients in the past five years. Provide the name, mailing address, telephone number, and email address of principal representatives of those clients. Include information about environmental review records (ERR) completed for as many different categories of projects as possible, identify the citation defining the category, and submit an example of at least one completed ERR for each category. Include qualifications and experience of sub-consultants, if any. Briefly describe your firm's general business capabilities and your ability to meet the required timelines. 

Methodology

Identify the appropriate level of environmental review and provide an outline of the process to complete the ERR for the four hypothetical projects listed below. Include an estimated timeline for completion and cost. (Assume these projects are not complicated by outside issues.)

a. $75,000 of CDBG funding provided to a local jurisdiction to remove architectural barriers and replace an existing path of travel along a partially paved road shoulder with 300 linear feet of ADA-compliant sidewalk, including pedestrian ramps, curbs, and gutters. 

b. 22 Project-Based Vouchers awarded to an existing affordable senior multi-unit housing complex. A small portion of the project is located in a floodplain area that requires flood insurance. There is no rehabilitation or other activities proposed; the project is funding/grant related only.

c.  $300,000 of HOME funds provided to a non-profit affordable housing developer for the construction of a new $9.7 million, 48-unit multi-family dwelling. 

d. $80,000 of CDBG funding provided to a non-profit to assist 10–15 disabled households by installing accessibility improvements and performing minor rehabilitation. The specific locations and rehabilitation activities are not identified at the time the funding award is made. 

e. Special Conditions

  • Additional procedure if any of the above projects were located in a special flood hazard area.
  • Additional procedure if a circa 1860 house were located within the proposed footprint of the affordable housing project.

Cost Basis for Completion of the ERR

Provide:

  • The per-hour fee schedule upon which the cost of the ERR will be calculated. Include a description of which elements of the environmental review process may be completed by specific members of the consulting team and include the fee schedule for those positions.
  • The per-hour fee for additional activities that are undertaken by the respondent that is necessitated by unforeseen circumstances or additional consultations that were not known at the time the initial scope of work was submitted to the Commission.
    • If the additional consulting services consist solely of work done by sub-consultants that is subsequently approved by the Commission and included in an amended Notice to Proceed, the percentage of administration fee added to the cost of the sub-consultation.

Authorization

The response must be signed by an individual authorized to bind the firm and shall contain a statement to the effect that the response is valid for at least 90 days.

Due Date

Electronic responses must be received by the Commission, no later than 2:00 p.m., September 2, 2020 (as amended). The due date is subject to change. If the due date is changed, all known recipients of the original RFQ will be notified of the new date, and any such changes will also be posted on this page. 

Questions/Answers

All questions must be submitted in writing no later than August 26, 2020. If any questions are received, all questions will be answered in an addendum posted on the Commission's website by August 28, 2020. The Commission will not provide verbal responses to any inquiries made by prospective respondents. The Commission will instead direct respondents to submit all questions in writing. 

Questions should be submitted to: 

Sonoma County Community Development Commission
Attn: Kirsten Larsen
1440 Guerneville Road
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Email: Kirsten.Larsen@sonoma-county.org

Timeline

 ActivityDate 
RFQ Issued July 28, 2020
Questions in writing due August 26, 2020, 5:00 pm
Responses to questions and addendum issued and posted to Sonoma County Supplier Portal and Commission website August 28, 2020, 5:00 pm
Proposals due September 2, 2020 5:00 pm
Proposal evaluation September 7-9, 2020
Consultant notified of preliminary selection, pending Board of Commissioners approval September 10, 2020
Estimated Board of Commissioners Hearing Date September 15, 2020 

 

Instructions for Submission of Response

Please submit an electronic version to Kirsten.Larsen@sonoma-county.org. Due to the Shelter-In-Place requirements of COVID-19, we will not accept hard-copy applications.

Evaluation Criteria

Selection of the most qualified Consultant will determine the final contract award and be based upon 

  • Understanding of the scope of work as evidenced by the approach outlined
  • Competence, technical ability, and related experience
  • Knowledge of NEPA and other federal environmental regulations
  • Estimated cost projections
  • Responsiveness to the Request for Qualifications
  • References
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