Location: San Carlos, CA

Objective Design Standards

Deadline: Friday, January 10, 2022, by 4:00 p.m.

Full RFP:

The City of San Carlos (City) is issuing this Request for Proposals (RFP) to retain the services of a consultant firm with demonstrated experience preparing Objective Design Standards for all residential projects, including single-family, multi- family and mixed-use residential projects. Multi-family residential objective design standards will apply to both multi-family and mixed-use residential development projects. The City seeks to adopt Objective Design Standards that would:

  • Be in compliance with State law
  • Streamline project review and permitting
  • Bring consistency and clarity to project review and permitting
  • Be verifiable and measurable
  • Ensure consistent application of standards for single-family homes with and without accessory dwelling units (ADUs)
  • Ensure consistent application of standards for multi-family and residential mixed-use development projects
  • Facilitate context-appropriate, high-quality design
  • Update current regulations to clearly lay out objective standards that reflect the community’s vision
  • Implement policies of the San Carlos 2030 General Plan
  • Balance property rights of individual single-family homeowners with the community’s desire to maintain the scale of the existing residential neighborhoods
  • Reflect the City’s desire to maintain high design standards throughout the community
  • Improve compatibility between new development and surrounding neighborhoods
  • Preserve the best qualities of the downtown
  • Prevent a new layer of governmental constraints on the production of housing
  • Maintain residential density standards while improving current massing guidelines to better fit projects into the neighborhood
  • Include clear development standards, specifications, performance approaches, graphic illustrations, and representations
  • Incorporate an easy to read and understandable format with supporting design graphics

Scope of Work
This Request for Proposal (RFP) is calling for a consultant team to develop objective design standards for two housing types, single-family residential and multi-family/residential mixed-use. With the input of residents, stakeholders, and staff, the City desires to produce objective design standards that reflect the goals and priorities of the City while satisfying the requirements of State law.

The consultant will be responsible for undertaking all necessary steps for this analysis and resulting modifications to the Zoning Code, as directed by staff and within the agreed upon time frame. Modifications must be integrated into the City’s regulatory framework established within the existing Zoning Ordinance in a manner that ensures overall quality and structure of the current Code, procedural consistency, aligns with state and local legal requirements, provides clarity as to applicability of existing regulations, and maximizes effectiveness of the code. The process and the document will include the steps below and conclude with the Council adopting the standards.

How to Apply
All Proposals shall include the following minimum information:

  1. Cover Letter- Indicate interest and commitment to perform the above services for the City of San Carlos. Include contact information (physical address, telephone, and email address) for the primary person responsible for the proposal who will be the point of contact for the City on the correspondence and communications pertaining to the proposal. The cover letter should also summarize the key points of the consulting firms’ interests and qualifications and pertinent areas of expertise.
  2. Relevant Experience - List projects completed by the Consultant relevant to the scope of services contained herein that have been completed in the last five years. Discuss the firm's uniqueness to best perform these services for the City.
  3. Current Clients/Projects - Provide a list of all clients doing business with the Consultant in the past 12 months and identify any projects within the City of San Carlos in the past 12 months.
  4. Scope of Work and Timeline: provide a Scope of Work that responds to the tasks outline in this RFP with an estimated timeline to complete each task.
  5. Estimated Fee and Budget - Provide a fee and budget estimate that includes a list of hourly billing rates for each proposed team member. Include all direct and indirect expenses and transportation fees. Provide a cost estimate for completing each task outlined in the scope of work. In the event the City wishes to authorize the single-family design standards ahead of the multi-family/residential mixed-use design standards, provide a separate cost estimate for completing the single-family standards and the multi-family/residential mixed-use standards, including separate community outreach and adoption process.

Interested individuals or firms shall submit one electronic copy, via email, by Monday, January 10, 2022, by 4 p.m. to