On Monday, June 13, 2022 the Town Council voted 7-0 in favor of approving a Request for Proposals (RFP) for an Ad Hoc Housing Diversity Study Committee Consultant as drafted by the Ordinance Committee. The consultant will provide staff support to a yet to be formed Ad Hoc Housing Diversity Study Committee. The RFP makes available $45,000 for the project, which may be adjusted at the discretion of the Cape Elizabeth Town Council.
Prior to the vote, Councilor Timothy Reiniger suggested that a public survey be included in the scope of work in order to cap expenses at $45,000. Chair Jeremy Gabrielson asked Town Planner Maureen O'Meara to explain the rationale behind not stipulating that a public survey be included in the scope of work. O'Meara referred to an earlier RFP for a Housing Diversity Study which failed to obtain any submissions because the available funding for the project was not competitive in the market. O'Meara emphasized the importance of offering a competitive number that, "Allows the market and the consultants to compete with each other; and then you can choose the consultant that best meets your needs and you think provides the best bargain." In addition, O'Meara said that omitting a public survey in the scope of work allows the Ad Hoc Housing Diversity Study Committee the discretion of choosing which methodology they feel would be best for conducting a public survey and/or gathering public opinion. Through her work with the 2019 Comprehensive Plan Committee, O'Meara noted that the committee varied the ways in which public input was collected and utilized several public opinion surveys and public participation plans, "And when it varies the cost also varies. All of these variables could change what a public participation could look like." O'Meara suggested that a consultant could assist the committee in narrowing down how best to obtain public participation or public opinion, "And if they [the committee] want to do something that isn't available within the budget they would have to come back to you [Town Council] and say that 'this is what we want to do.' "
Proposal submissions are due June 30. Concurrently, on-line applications to serve on the Housing Diversity Study Committee are now being accepted; the deadline to submit an application is 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday July 6.