Riverhead Town and AKRF, the town planning consultants hired to update the city’s comprehensive plan, have agreed to a one-year extension of the agreement signed in January 2020.
The consultants’ work is now expected to be completed by August 21, 2022, pushed back from the August 1, 2021 date in the original agreement.
The company’s work has been delayed by the COVID-19 crisis, according to building and planning administrator Jefferson Murphree.
In addition to the schedule change, the amendment to the contract approved by the city council last week adds two tasks to the responsibilities of the AKRF. First, the consultants are in the process of creating a new section of the city’s website devoted to the full update of the plan, where interactive pages such as polls and interactive maps will be accessible to the public and their comments. Second, the AKRF will create up to four interactive social maps that include all the hamlets in the city.
The two additional tasks, taken together, result in an additional fee of $ 22,750, but the additions will not cost the city any additional money because the city has agreed to eliminate one of the
deliverables in the original contract: the preparation of an official city plan, in accordance with New York State Town Law. The official map is created at the discretion of the city council to plot new streets, drainage systems for highways or parks or to widen or close existing ones.
The other tasks set out in the original agreement remain in place, although completion dates have been pushed back. The amendment reads them as follows:
- Public awareness and engagement / public survey / final hamlet map: fall 2021
- Trend analysis: summer 2021 (draft June / July final)
- Summary of the challenges opportunities / results of the public inquiry / outline of the transport plan: winter 2022
- Identification of the preferred alternative / GEIS, scope of work / DGEIS scoping meeting: spring 2022
- DGEIS preparation: spring 2022
- DGEIS public hearing: spring / summer 2022
- FGEIS preparation / final recommendations / other deliverables: summer 2022
- End of project: August 31, 2022
The contract amendment was negotiated by the city’s deputy attorney, Ann Marie Prudenti, whom board members thanked for negotiating a beneficial amendment to the agreement.
“They wanted extra money and I refused to accept them with extra money,” said supervisor Yvette Aguiar. “I want to thank you, Ann Marie, for working to protect our taxpayer dollars,” she said.
The $ 675,000 contract with the New York-based company was authorized by city council in October 2019, signed by former supervisor Laura Jens-Smith in December 2019 and fully executed on January 2, 2020. AKRF was selected by the city council after the The board of directors published an expression of interest request on June 4, 2019. AKRF was one of two companies to submit a proposal.
The start of work was delayed by shutdowns linked to the COVID pandemic. The original launch date of February 1, 2020 was postponed to September 2020, when the consultants came to a city council working session to brief council members on what the firm had done. AKRF director and project manager Robert White and senior technical director Lorianne DeFalco told members of city council and town planning council on September 17 that the company had done some groundwork. – research, reading of previous planning documents and preparation of maps.
Next steps would include establishing an advisory committee, holding meetings with municipal officials, and holding up to 20 community meetings. Some or all of the meetings were to be held virtually, White said last September, due to ongoing pandemic restrictions.
City Councilor Tim Hubbard, City Council’s liaison to the Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee, said today that in-person community meetings will take place and are expected to begin “soon.” The interactive maps will complement face-to-face meetings, not replace them, Hubbard said. He said he had not had an update from the Planning Administrator on the status of the website’s deployment, which Murphree estimated last month to launch in about two weeks.
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