Town leaders approved a contract Monday to have Durham-based CodeWright Planners complete the unified development ordinance another consulting firm started, but never finished.
Planning Director Mark Hetrick said UDO work will start in January and take about 16 months to complete, a few months longer than previously anticipated. The price tag on the contract is $62,000, including a $3,000 contingency.
“The contract is a continuation of the scope of work that has been completed to date, which does incorporate the findings from (the past consultants’) original report,” Hetrick said. “We feel that time is of the essence given the amount of development pressures that we currently see and continue to see, and feel that the UDO is a proper growth management tool that we can use for that growth.”
A UDO is intended to streamline all of a town’s development-related ordinances into a single document, helping prevent the chance for conflicts within development rules and regulations. It is also a means for the town to spell out rules to match its priorities for growth.
The town in 2013 approved an initial UDO agreement priced at $125,400, of which it paid 70 percent ($93,461) before terminating the contract. Members of that consulting team left mid-contract to take jobs with other firms, and though the lead consultant initially pledged to complete the job while working for a new company, the town ultimately decided it wasn’t getting the results it desired.
Curtis Strickland was the only commissioner with a question about the new contract before it was approved Monday.
“I’m just looking at three months of investigation,” Strickland said, referring to the first of five tasks listed on CodeWright Planners’ project schedule. “It seems like that should be complete by now.”
The former consultants had held a series of investigative focus groups with various sectors of the community in January, 2014.
Hetrick acknowledged that work, but said there are others who weren’t reached before who need to be included in the process.
“We’re hoping to get out in the community and get stakeholders involved … developers, engineers, architects, the development community as well as the public – civic groups, churches, schools – and try to get them on board as well to get their input,” Hetrick said.