Request For Proposals: Town of Bennington, Vermont Land Use and Development Regulations Revision

Town of Bennington, Vermont
Land Use and Development Regulations Revision
Proposals Due on February 25, 2019 at 11:00 am



The Town of Bennington is soliciting proposals for the assessment, revision, and rewriting of Bennington’s existing Land Use and Development Regulations (LUDR). Revisions will focus on making the LUDR consistent with Bennington’s recently adopted Town Plan; simplifying existing regulations with greater reliance on form-based design standards for certain districts; and incorporating provisions needed for Neighborhood Development Area designation.

 Context, Background and Project Purposes

 Current Regulations and Town Plan
The last comprehensive update of the Town of Bennington’s Land Use and Development Regulations (LUDR) occurred in 2004. The current Bennington Town Plan was last updated and adopted in 2018.

LUDR link: Please note amendments and appendices.

Town Plan link: Please note amendment.

The Town of Bennington contains a State of Vermont Designated Downtown and a State of Vermont Designated Growth Center. Bennington amended and adopted its Town Plan earlier this year, and previously in 2015.  However, the Town’s land use regulations have not been reviewed or updated in over ten years.  The Town believes it is critical to ensure that its implementing regulations are fully consistent with the Town Plan.  The regulations also can be more effective and user-friendly through use of form-based standards.

This concern coincides with increasing interest in the role that dimensional and design standards (existing or to be developed) have in supporting the Town Plan’s objectives for land use (especially mixed-use development in the downtown, downtown residential neighborhoods, and commercial corridor areas), complete streets, and healthy community design. These interests are timely since a major redevelopment project in the downtown area beginning in 2019 is expected to accelerate growth in the area and the town is concerned that the form and function of future development is consistent with the Town Plan.

The Town believes that well-crafted and clearly illustrated form-based standards will both encourage diverse development and ensure that it is consistent with the Town Plan. Development of these improved standards may result in consolidation or simplification of several existing zoning districts located within the Town’s Growth Center.

Residential neighborhoods within the designated growth center, especially those immediately adjacent to the Designated Downtown, are vital to the economic well-being of Bennington. Residents and potential residents seek a variety of quality housing options affordable at all income levels in these areas.  This demand will increase with the downtown redevelopment, but the existing housing stock is limited and often low-quality.  Review of the development regulations for compliance with Neighborhood Development Area (NDA) designation requirements will help ensure that the best development regulations are in place to encourage more dense, attractive, and accessible residential units in this area.  Benefits of the NDA designation may help make improvements to existing housing stock more financially viable for residents and developers alike.

Project Purposes
The project consultant will work with the Town Planning Commission and staff to draft LUDR revisions addressing consistency concerns and focusing on implementing the stated intent of the Plan in several key areas:

  • Simplification and possible consolidation of land use districts in the town’s Growth Center with a focus on dimensional and design standards (form-based standards);
  • Consideration of modifications to use-restrictions in the downtown and other mixed-use/commercial districts;
  • Greater focus on form-based standards and provisions that support the compact mixed-use development pattern envisioned by the Town Plan;
  • Provisions for residential development/redevelopment in neighborhoods within the Growth Center that are consistent with requirements for Neighborhood Development Area designation;
  • All elements of a Neighborhood Development Area designation application are expected to be produced and approved by the Town Planning Commission as a part of this planning project.

The revised regulations shall:

  • Include detailed graphics to clearly communicate to administrators, the public, and the development community the requirements of the regulations;
  • Comply with all applicable state and federal statutes, case law, and regulations;
  • Eliminate, update, revise outdated, unclear, repetitive, or contradictory language; and
  • Improve the efficiency of the land development process by streamlining administrative review, approval, and permitting for routine matters.

A total of $19,030 is available for consultant services from the Municipal Planning Grant Program administered by the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development.

Work Plan

The project is expected to include close interaction and cooperation with the Planning Commission and Town staff to collaborate on the development/revision of the regulations, monitor progress, and guide the public input process. Consultants are encouraged to expand on this description and encouraged to suggest alternative approaches they believe will better achieve the Town’s objectives. The scope of work includes the following components:

    1. Public Participation/Stakeholder Interviews. The consultant will collaborate in the development and implementation of an effective and efficient public participation program that stimulates and facilitates constructive input and responses from a wide range of stakeholders throughout the project. This element will involve key community stakeholders in a series of interviews to communicate community goals and to gain a better understanding of stakeholder objectives and concerns. Town staff and the Planning Commission will conduct these interviews. The consultant will assist in developing a public participation strategy, including materials to aid in the stakeholder interview process.
    2. Town Plan/LUDR Review and Analysis. The consultant will work with Town staff and the Planning Commission in a thorough review and assessment of the existing LUDR and the Town Plan and produce a report (LUDR Assessment) that addresses all of the following:
      a. Identification of inconsistencies with the Town Plan.
      b. Identification of form-based standards that may be appropriate for the Town of Bennington. Prioritize land use districts that should include form-based standards.
      c. Identification of changes required to obtain Neighborhood Development Area (NDA) designation.
      d. Identification of opportunities to streamline and simplify the regulations.
      e. Identification of any recommended changes to land use district boundaries.
    3. Review of LUDR Assessment. The consultant will review the LUDR with Town staff, Planning Commission and stakeholders to determine the revisions that will be made. The consultant must attend at least one public meeting to present the LUDR Assessment to the Planning Commission.
    4. LUDR Revision/NDA Report. The consultant will work with the Planning Commission and Town staff to develop and review the initial draft of the revised LUDR and a NDA Report. This process will involve several steps including resolution of the final form of the LUDR, creation of graphics, and development of regulatory language. The Town anticipates a user- friendly and streamlined ordinance, rich in graphics and illustrations that are practical and responsive to existing conditions and the Town Plan’s goals and objectives.
    5. Presentations. The consultant will present the initial draft revised LUDR and NDA Report to the Planning Commission at a public forum/hearing and to the Town Select Board at a public forum/hearing. These sessions will be structured as informal but should include materials to introduce the draft document and to explain how it varies from the current LUDR and how it supports the goals of the Town Plan. The Town desires a brief synopsis of the draft revised LUDR which may be prepared as a hand-out. Following these meetings, the consultant will confer with Town staff and the Planning Commission and Select Board to resolve any issues with the draft.
    6. Final Draft of LUDR and NDA Report. The consultant will draft any modifications to the proposed revised LUDR and NDA report necessitated by staff and stakeholder review, Planning Commission review, and/or Select Board review and produce a final draft of the LUDR and NDA Report.
    7. Map Changes. The consultant will assist with any required zoning map changes, if necessary.

Deliverables. The deliverables shall include the following:

1.  A Public Participation Strategy/Stakeholder Interview Materials.
2. A LUDR Assessment.
3. Public Meetings/Presentations (at least 5), including all meeting materials.
4. Draft Revised LUDR Draft and Draft NDA Report including all graphics, meeting materials and a summary of changes for  presentation           to the public, Planning Commission and Select Board.
5. Final Revised LUDR including all graphics.
6. Revised Maps, if necessary.

Format of Documents.

One (1) internet-ready digital copy and one (1) reproducible hard copy for the proposed revised LUDR and NDA report, and one (1) internet-ready digital copy and one (1) reproducible hard copy of the adopted LUDR and NDA report shall be submitted to the Town. The digital copy shall be delivered electronically in a format or formats mutually agreed upon by the consultant and the Town which will allow for the modification, reproduction, and amendment of the documents generated throughout the process of project completion and thereafter by the Town and others. The consultant will be expected to provide all graphics and illustrations to be included in the LUDR, summaries and any hand-outs used in public meetings in both “hard copy” and electronic form.  The Town of Bennington shall retain ownership of all data, reports, drafts, and any other submitted documentation.


The Town of Bennington is anticipating a condensed project timeline that would begin upon contract award date and be completed by February 2020. The Town recognizes that this is an aggressive timeline and welcomes the consultant to propose a timeline that would ensure an efficient, yet comprehensive approach to the project’s completion.


 All responses to the RFP shall include the following information:

  1. Cover Letter – A letter of interest and a summary of: qualifications, recommended approaches, scope of work, processes, and deliverables for the project.
  2. Scope of Work – Provide a detailed scope of work based on the work plan provided above, broken down by task. Describe the approach to the project and proposed methodology including:
    1. a detailed scope of work with associated list of tasks broken down by task and team member
    2. description of the proposed deliverables.

The consultant may also propose additional supplemental items to the scope of work. While the work plan above conforms with the requirements of the Municipal Planning Grant, feel free to propose new/creative approaches to this project. (If chosen, alternative approaches may require approval from the state.)
3. Proposed Schedule – Provide a schedule that includes completion of work tasks and deliverables including key meetings and complies with
the timeframe provided above.
4. Project Budget/Cost Proposal – Provide a detailed budget/cost proposal broken down by task and team member. The cost proposal shall be
an overall not to exceed bid price for completing the project as described in this RFP. Include your overhead and hourly rates for the individuals
5. Qualifications and Staffing – Provide a qualifications profile of the lead consultant and sub-consultants, including indication of the lead         consultant, the role of each consultant on the team with organizational staffing chart and percentage of time devoted to the project by each consultant. Given the graphics intensive nature of the project, please provide examples of graphics developed for similar projects. Also provide detailed information on each consultant, including contact information, the name of the firm, year established, including a description of relevant experience on similar projects for each firm and listing of their individual work experience in this role on similar projects
6. References – A minimum of two (2) professional references for whom a similar project has been completed within the last ten (10) years.
7. Page Limit – The proposal, encompassing items 1-6 above, shall not exceed 15 double-sided pages (30 total pages) including cover letter, table of contents, project lists and contacts.

All information submitted becomes the property of the Town of Bennington upon submission. The Town reserves the right to issue supplemental information or guidelines relating to the RFP as well as to make modifications to the RFP or withdraw the RFP. Once submitted, the consultant team (including specific staff assigned to the project) may not be changed without written notice to and consent of the Town. The cost of preparing, submitting and presenting a proposal is the sole expense of the consultant. The Town reserves the right to reject any and all proposals received as a result of this solicitation, to negotiate with any qualified source, to waive any formality and any technicalities or to cancel the RFP in part or in its entirety if it is in the best interest of the Town. This solicitation of proposals in no way obligates the Town to award a contract.

Submission Requirements
Respondents should submit one (1) digital copy (PDF) and six (6) printed copies of the proposal by February 25, 2019 at 11 am to:

Municipality/Local Project Manager Contact Information
Town of Bennington
ATTN: Daniel Monks
Assistant Town Manager
205 South Street
Bennington, Vermont 05201

If you have any questions about this project or the RFP, please address them in writing via email to Daniel Monks no later than 10 days prior to the date that proposals are due.  Both the question and response will be shared with the other consultants known to be interested in submitting a proposal.

RFP Schedule Summary
Proposals due February 25, 2019 at 11:00 am.
Interviews (optional) prior to March 5, 2019.
Consultant selection by March 25, 2019.
Project Work to begin the date contract is awarded.
Complete project on or by February 28, 2020.

Proposal Selection Proposals will be reviewed by a selection committee comprised of representatives from the Town of Bennington Planning Commission. A short-list of consultants may be selected for interviews.

Proposal Evaluation

Respondents will be evaluated based on criteria that include but are not limited to:

    • technical approach to the project
    • professional qualifications of key personnel
    • previous experience and proven performance with similar projects
    • project management capabilities
    • public participation methods
    • clarity of presentation
    • understanding of project purposes
    • ability to meet schedules and budgets
    • current workload and availability of necessary personnel
    • estimated costs and the flexibility to adjust the proposed work program to meet budgetary constraints
    • other factors deemed relevant by the Planning Commission.

Interview Framework (Optional)

The Town reserves the right to select the top two to three highly scored consultants and invite them for an interview prior to awarding the contract. In this process, the selection committee may ask the respondents to give an oral presentation of their respective proposals. The purpose of this oral presentation is to provide an in-depth analysis of certain qualifications, experience in performing similar services, and an opportunity for the consultant to clarify or elaborate on their qualifications without restating the proposal. The interview and presentation is merely to present facts and explanation to the review committee and allow the selection committee to ask targeted questions of the consultant team. The interview and presentation, if deemed necessary by the review committee, will be held at the Town Office, 205 South Street in Bennington, Vermont. All costs and expenses incurred in traveling for the purpose of interview and presentation shall be the responsibility of the consultant.

Final Consultant Selection

Following the selection process, one consultant or consultant team will be selected to negotiate a final contract for services. The final scope of work with specified deliverables may be modified through negotiation of the final contract. The final project team may also be modified through negotiation of the final contract. Any expenses resulting from the interview and proposal process will be the sole responsibility of the consultant.

Contract Requirements

The consultant contract will be subject to the terms of the Attachment D of the Municipal Planning Grant Agreement (Procurement Procedures and Other Grant Requirements). A sample contract meeting these requirements can be found at: