Request for Proposals City of Sunbury Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinance

The City of Sunbury is seeking the services of a consultant (or team of consultants) to develop a comprehensive plan and update Sunbury’s zoning ordinance. The comprehensive plan should meet the requirements of Article III of the PA MPC and utilize DCED’s implementable plan approach. Sunbury’s plan must place strong emphasis on strategic elements. It must outline priorities, determine attainable and workable action plans, identify means of financing, and ensure the capacity to implement. The zoning ordinance should clearly reflect the vision and objectives outlined in the plan.

Consultants must be capable of performing bilingual community engagement and producing a comprehensive planning document in both Spanish and English. Community engagement is expected to be performed both in person and virtually through web-based and community-identified social media platforms in Spanish and English.

Project Description

The plan area is located along the Susquehanna River in Northumberland County and has a population of approximately 9,719 according to the 2020 census. Prior planning efforts in Sunbury have included the adoption of a comprehensive plan and strategic plan in 2012, a STMP plan in 2021, and 2012 Economic Report.

The vision for City of Sunbury must be inclusive, innovative, and implementable in its attempt to address the concerns, challenges and changes that have taken place over the past 10 years while crafting resilient strategies for community and economic development that capitalize on the region’s assets.

Specifically, topics may include but are not to be limited to:

• Enhancing the sense of place and retaining character Sunbury’s historic neighborhoods and downtown

• Developing strategies for blight remediation, restoration of aging housing stock and redevelopment in targeted areas through strategies such as traditional neighborhood development

• Downtown revitalization strategies

• Multimodal opportunities for increased bike and pedestrian use

• Planning for increased public transportation needs related to warehousing industry growth due to the Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway (SVTU)

• Diversity and inclusion initiatives for Sunbury’s increasingly diversifying population.

• Strategic opportunities to link Sunbury’s existing recreational assets to the Susquehanna River and Sunbury riverfront

It is highly recommended that consultants familiarize themselves with the Jeanette Comprehensive Plan for insight on outlining of strategic objectives and implementability.

Services to be Provided

The consulting team to be hired will provide the full range of planning services necessary for the completion of the comprehensive plan and zoning ordinance. The selected consultant will be asked to focus its work on providing intelligence for decision making (not recitations of data), providing creative ideas and workable action plans, and helping the city recruit partners and create capacity to implement the plan. Interested consultants are asked to submit a scope of work describing their approach, methods, etc. for carrying out the prescribed work.

The comprehensive plan should be an “implementable plan” following principles and keys currently being promoted by the PA Department of Community and Economic Development.

The consultant’s work and the comprehensive plan document should be organized based on the municipalities’ priorities or related goals or themes that emerge from the planning process, not based on a traditional template of land use plan, housing plan, transportation plan, etc. The plan document should be efficient in words, avoid jargon, and be written for use by city council, city staff, partner groups, and citizens who will implement the plan after completion. The plan should provide workable action plans for top recommendations – a series of strategic projects, programs, and initiatives – that emerge from the planning process.

The plan should set priorities and a timetable for action based on expected results and ability to finance and carry out. Action plans should include reasonable depth and detail – specific action steps, responsible parties, estimated costs, and proposed means of financing – to facilitate implementation after the plan is completed. The consultant is asked to include some immediate action recommendations that would provide short-term, visible results and motivate further implementation of the plan.

The consultant will help the city recruit partners – organizations, businesses, and individuals with expertise and resources to be involved in the plan. The plan process should invite their ideas for recommendations and action plans and invite partners to take roles in implementing the plan.

The consultant should facilitate a plan process whereby the community “owns” the plan, and the elected officials and community leaders are spokespersons for the plan and have a consensus commitment to implement it. There should be effective means within the project budget to obtain public vision and aspirations for their community. There should be involvement of elected officials to ensure their understanding and acceptance as the plan proceeds from issues to ideas to action plans.

The consultant will deliver to the city complete comprehensive plan document(s) ready for adoption in addition to fully editable English language digital files necessary for online distribution and Spanish translation. Physical copies may also be required to be printed in both Spanish and English. The consultant will deliver to the city an updated zoning ordinance ready for adoption. Documents will be provided in print form in a quantity to be agreed upon during the contracting agreement and in digital format for upload onto Sunbury’s website.

Interested consultants should involve a multi-disciplinary team capable of successfully completing the requested tasks either through their own firm or by cooperating with other firms.


The consultant must comply with CFR § 200.321 regulations regarding with small and minority businesses, women's business enterprises, and labor surplus area firms.

Affirmative steps must include:

(1) Placing qualified small and minority businesses and women's business enterprises on solicitation lists.

(2) Assuring that small and minority businesses, and women's business enterprises are solicited whenever they are potential sources.

(3) Dividing total requirements, when economically feasible, into smaller tasks or quantities to permit maximum participation by small and minority businesses, and women's business enterprises.

(4) Establishing delivery schedules, where the requirement permits, which encourage participation by small and minority businesses, and women's business enterprises.

(5) Using the services and assistance, as appropriate, of such organizations as the Small Business Administration and the Minority Business Development Agency of the Department of Commerce; and

(6) Requiring the prime contractor, if subcontracts are to be let, to take the affirmative steps listed in paragraphs (b)(1) through (5) of this section. “

Budget and Partnerships

The City of Sunbury was awarded a STMP grant by the PA Department of Community and Economic Development in support of the development of a comprehensive plan and zoning ordinance. The total project cost shall not exceed $120,000.

Completion Schedule

It is expected that the consultant will complete its tasks and present relevant reports, products, and recommendations within 28 months of execution of a contract.

Contractual Requirements

Because the project is funded by grants from the PA Department of Community and Economic Development, the consultant must comply with grant-mandated requirements to be included in the consultant contract.

Change orders shall not be permitted, adding scope of work, unless the work topic is initiated by City of Sunbury.


The consultant will be required to enter into a written Professional Services Agreement with the City of Sunbury, which will incorporate the information contained in this Request for Proposals.

The consultant will agree to a lump sum fee, which shall include all costs associated with the services outlined herein. Costs sometimes separately billed as reimbursable costs shall be declared and included in the lump sum amount of this proposal. Payment shall be made to the consultant on a monthly basis.

Invoices shall be provided setting forth the percentage of work completed to date, establishing the amount due based on the percentage completed, less any previous amounts. Payment shall be expressly contingent upon receipt of funds from the American Rescue Plan Act.

Selection Criteria

Proposals will be evaluated, and a consultant will be selected based on the following criteria listed in order of importance:

• The relevant qualifications and experience of the consultant(s) in performing work and meeting objectives outlined herein.

• The qualifications and experience of personnel to be assigned by the consultant(s) to the project.

• Suggestions submitted to enhance the scope of work and additional details of the approach and methods to carry out the project. Proposals will be competitively judged on the quality and value of the proposed work approach. And identified deliverables

• The ability of the consultant(s) to meet the expected project completion schedule.

• Cost.

• Proposer’s commitment to the obligations of the City’s Minority Owned Business Enterprises and Women Owned Business Enterprises Action Plan.

Note: Cost is only one of several criteria to be considered in evaluating proposals. According the City of Sunbury will not publish proposal cost summaries. Proposers are, however, invited to attend the opening.

Proposal Content

Consultant proposals must include:

• Brief description of the consultant(s).

• Description of relevant work experience, capabilities, skills, and expertise which qualify the consultant(s) to undertake the project. Please include relevant, recent client references.

• Personnel assignments with resumes showing individual work experience, skills, and expertise.

• A proposed scope of work detailing approach and methods. to carry out the project. This should be accompanied by a detailed budget and work schedule.

• Proposed work schedule

• Both the budget and work schedule should include contingencies for unforeseen barriers or costs.

• If the proposer is an MBE/WBE, a certification form shall be submitted with the bid attesting to the firms’ status as such.

• If any part of the project is subcontracted, requires purchases for services, or requires hiring of additional employees, the proposers must submit documentary evidence of MBE/WBE concerns who have been contacted and/or to whom commitments have been made. If no solicitation was made to MBE/WBE’s business concerns or residents, please indicate the reason(s). If there is no need for additional employees or trainees, or no need to contract for work, then MBE/WBE requirements are not triggered.

The City of Sunbury reserves the right to accept or reject any and all proposals or to waive any irregularities.

Professional Liability Insurance is required for this project. Please indicate the level of coverage provided.

Selection Procedures

Proposals for the comprehensive plan must be emailed to: Derrick Backer, City Administrator

Proposals must be received no later than 4:00 PM, Thursday September 22nd, 2022 to be eligible for consideration. Any questions on the request should be directed to Derrick Backer, City Administrator, (570)286-7820.

The city is open to considering consultant suggestions for alterations to the work scope that would be in the best interest of the city and not detract from the essential goals and objectives outlined in the RFP. Alterations could be considered in developing a final scope of work for contract with the selected consultant.

A short list of consultants will be asked to schedule and make presentations to a consultant selection committee. It is anticipated that consultant selection will occur within 45-60 days of the RFP deadline. A notice to proceed will be issued as soon as possible thereafter.

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Sunbury RFP Plan and Zoning.pdf 113.89 KB