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Date of Issue: February 10, 2010

Commission seeks new planner

The Bradenton Beach City Commission voted Feb. 4 to drop contract negotiations with one firm and revisit its options for updating the city’s land-development code.

The vote came during the commission’s regular meeting at city hall, 107 Gulf Drive N.

The commission had agreed last May to hire Wilson Miller as a planning consultant to update the LDC in partnership with the city planning and zoning board. The project involves bringing the LDC into compliance with the city’s comprehensive plan.

Four firms submitted bids for the job — B.A. Garrett Associates Inc., LaRue Planning and Management Services Inc., ZNS Engineering and Wilson Miller.

Wilson Miller, in its proposal, promised a “team of professionals who bring the expertise necessary to successfully and creatively complete the project.”

The firm estimated the LDC update would cost $16,000 — $1,000 for an initial meeting on the project, $2,000 for a review of the comp plan and LDC, $3,000 for a joint workshop with the city commission and planning and zoning board and $10,000 for analysis and draft updates.

But last week, frustrated with delays in negotiating a contract, commissioners decided to consider other firms.

“It would be my recommendation that we look for someone else,” said Mayor Michael Pierce.

“We’ve lost enough time,” said Commissioner Gay Breuler.

Building official Steve Gilbert suggested the city revisit its request for proposals, which Commissioner Janie Robertson recommended in her motion.

Robertson motioned to direct the city attorney to terminate contract negotiations with Wilson Miller and for the commission to review the other proposals submitted in the RFP process.

With a second, the motion passed unanimously.

Last spring, pitching for the job, ZNS Engineering vice president Thomas C. McCollum, in his proposal, said the firm is the oldest, locally owned engineering consulting firm in the county.

“We are confident we can address the needs of the city,” he said.

ZNS’s estimated charge — a total of $19,700 — included $800 for an initial meeting on the LDC, $2,000 for a plan review, $1,200 for a workshop with the commission and planning board, $4,300 for drafts of the LDC, $5,700 for three public meetings/hearings of the planning board and $5,700 for three public meetings/hearings of the city commission.

LaRue proposed to complete the LDC update for an estimated $26,500 and indicated the fee would include drafting the document, as well as holding 12 meetings.

“We believe our approach, combined with our professional expertise, will provide the city with the broad perspective and technical competence you seek for this important undertaking,” said LaRue president James G. LaRue.

Garrett’s estimate was that an LDC update would take a total of 86 hours for $8,707.50, without billing for travel or mileage and including a 25 percent discount for government work.