Planning and Zoning Code Update - RFP

City of University Heights

Planning and Zoning Code Rewrite:


The City of University Heights, located in Cuyahoga County, Ohio has a population of 13,025. Comprising 1.82 square miles, University Heights borders Beachwood to the east, Cleveland Heights to the west, South Euclid to the north and Shaker Heights to the south. It is primarily a residential suburb, but has a wide range of land uses that include a number of religious sites, small to medium retail, restaurant, office, medical, and parks. University Heights is also home to John Carroll University.

Under its home-rule authority, the City has adopted a municipal charter and a Planning and Zoning Code. The code provides that any legislation establishing a zoning district or changing any zoned parcel from one district to another must be approved by the City’s Planning Commission and City Council.


The City is seeking proposals for an all-inclusive review, update and rewrite of its Planning and Zoning Code as well as the zoning map which will be revised to correlate with the new code. The City’s expectation is that by engaging in such a process, all stakeholders including the citizens of University Heights, property owners in the City, the business community, and the public servants entrusted with their livelihood, will have confidence in the outcome of this work, leading to a fully updated Planning and Zoning Code and map that is representative of the community’s best interests.


The selected Consultant will conduct a public process to develop a new Planning and Zoning Code. The Consultant will be responsible for completing a comprehensive and independent review to determine what changes are necessary. The City of University Heights Master Plan was last updated in 2016. An uptick in development along with City leadership’s commitment to walkability, livability, and economic vitality make this the perfect moment in time for the City to update the Planning and Zoning Code that provides the necessary tools for the future.

The Consultant will work with the community to develop a form-based or hybrid zoning ordinance which will incorporate modern and mixed uses. A public outreach strategy shall be planned to inform the residents and businesses of the benefits along with meetings of an advisory committee, the Planning Commission, and City Council. The Consultant shall be responsible for producing meeting materials and visual presentations necessary to engage the public. Information shall be posted on the City’s website to provide up-to-date progress of the rewrite and to promote public participation.

Specific items to be addressed include, but are not limited to:

1. Update definitions

2. Review appropriateness of uses and update new uses to meet the needs for modern development projects with the ability to provide for mixed uses.

3. Review existing housing resources and future housing needs.

4. Review present and future general location of educational/cultural facilities.

5. Review all current zoning districts and propose accordingly for future use.

6. Develop or expand site plan review requirements to include updated standards for landscaping, parking, signage, and exterior lighting.

7. Investigate implementing architectural standards.

8. Rewrite sign regulations to include review of right-of-way signs, temporary signs, electronic signs, size and schedule. Verify constitutionality.

9. Review and update accessory uses.

10. Review enforcement and penalties.

11. Review parking regulations.


A. General Submittal Information


The response to the RFP should be succinct but comprehensive and shall include suggested approaches related to the Consultant’s ability to achieve the City’s project objectives. The Consultant may propose modifications to the suggested scope of services if it believes it will better achieve the project objectives.

B. Proposal Organization and Format

To aid in the evaluation, it is desired that all proposals follow the same general format. The proposals may be submitted in binders and have sections tabbed as outlined in Section C, or in PDF format, provided each section identified below would be distinguished from the next with internal bookmarks within the electronic file.


C. Required Submittals

Below are the following Tabs that must be responded to in a submitted proposal.

Tab 1: Letter of Transmittal

A letter of transmittal that clearly indicates the Project Manager, mailing address, telephone number and email address.

Tab 2: Table of Contents

Tab 3: Introduction/Summary


Proposers shall provide a short introduction and summary of the company (i.e. how long the company has been in business, the number of employees, etc.). Include the names of key personnel to be assigned to the project, their title, experience, and period of service.


Tab 4: Method of Approach

Proposers shall describe the company’s approach to The Scope of Service listed in Section III. Address the manner in which the company proposes to meet the specific requirements including the nature of the public process and intended extent of public involvement and what, if any, tasks will be subcontracted to others. This section shall include the following:

a. Methodology addressing the scope of work, including how you will analyze existing information and approach the project including the strategy used to achieve the project objectives and scope of services.

b. For any form-based code provisions, if you have a source, identify the source of the provisions and the intent, purpose and explanation for why it was chosen.

c. Provide a public participation plan following the guidelines outlined in this RFP. Address the roles of city staff, commissions and council. While the City may provide information as to mailing lists and contacts, the consultant will bear the primary responsibility for timely meeting notification.

d. Proposals should be all-inclusive detailing your best offer. Additional related services should be incorporated into the proposal if applicable.

Tab 5: Personnel, Qualifications, Expertise and Experience

Project personnel shall be listed including a description of assignments and responsibilities, a resume of professional experience and an estimate of the time each would devote to this project, and other pertinent information.

Tab 6: Comparable Projects

Identify up to the last three comparable projects in progress or completed, with the following information:

a. Reference name with current contact information

b. Current status of the code (i.e. in progress, adopted)

c. Nature of public involvement in the formulation of the code

d. Brief description of type of development and code, size of jurisdiction

e. Provide samples of completed code documents

Tab 7: Proposed Fee and Timeframe

Proposers shall provide a lump-sum, not-to-exceed cost for the services required to fulfill the requirements of the RFP and any additional recommendations within the submitted proposal.

Additionally, please provide a per cost estimate for each additional public information meeting, Planning Commission meeting, and City Council meetings/council work session meeting as may be held above and beyond that in the accepted public participation process. Consultant shall agree to appear at a pre-selection interview at no cost, if necessary. No reimbursement will occur for costs of preparing the proposal.


A. Submittal Deadline

The completed response must be delivered on or before May 14, 2021 by 11:30 a.m. Any response delivered after the response deadline will not be considered. Electronic submissions are encouraged. Please email to:

Kelly Thomas, Clerk of Council at

If submitting hardcopies, please include three (3) complete hardcopies and a pdf file of the response and send to:

Kelly Thomas, Clerk of Council

City of University Heights

2300 Warrensville Center Road

University Heights, OH 44118

The proposal shall be valid a minimum of ninety (90) days after the submission deadline.

B. Communications with the City of University Heights

Firms that intend to submit a response should not contact any staff member or official of the City of University Heights other than the contact designated in this RFP. An exception to this rule applies to firms who currently do business with the City of University Heights, but any contact made by such firm(s) with persons should be limited to that business, and should not relate to this RFP.

C. Questions Relating to this RFP

All questions concerning this RFP must be received in writing via email to by 2:00 p.m., May 5, 2021. Questions submitted after the question deadline will not be considered.

D. Right to Cancel

The City of University Heights reserves the right to change any aspect of, terminate or delay this RFP and the RFP process at any time. Notice will be given in a timely manner thereafter if the City exercises its right to do so.

E. No Award

Recipients of this RFP are advised that nothing stated herein, or any part thereof, or any communication during the evaluation and selection process, shall be construed as constituting, offering, or awarding a contract, representation or agreement of any kind.

F. Not Liable for Costs

The City is not liable and will not be responsible for any costs incurred by any firm for the preparation and delivery of the RFP responses, nor will we be liable for any costs incurred prior to the execution of an agreement, including but not limited to, presentations by RFP finalists.

G. Property of the City

Responses to this RFP will become the property of the City and will form the basis of an agreement with the apparent successful firm. Unless an exception applies under the Ohio Public Records Act, any responding consultant identifies that exception in its responses and the City agrees with that exception, all responses will be treated as public records.

H. Waiver of Irregularities

The City reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to waive minor administrative regularities contained in any proposal.

I. Withdrawal of Proposals

Consultant may withdraw a proposal that has been submitted at any time up to the proposal deadline. To accomplish this, a written request signed by an authorized representative of the firm must be submitted to the Economic Development Director. The consultant may submit another proposal at any time up to the proposal deadline.

J. Errors in Proposals

The City will not be liable for any errors in proposals. Consultants will not be allowed to alter their proposal documents after the submission deadline. Corrections or amendments due to errors identified in the consultant’s proposal may be accepted if this type of correction or amendment is due to typing, transposition, or any other obvious errors. Consultants are liable for all errors or omissions contained in their proposals.



Proposals will be reviewed and evaluated based upon the following criteria:

A. A demonstrated high level of professional competence and a proven track record in the preparation of zoning codes and the implementation of public participation programs

B. Design approach and methodology

C. Understanding of the City’s development and Master Plan

D. Ability to maintain a high level of direct interaction and communication with various elected and appointed officials.


E. Public outreach and facilitation capabilities

F. Review of references and prior work product, including prior user friendliness of work product

G. Proposed Schedule

H. Estimated budget


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