[the_ad_placement id=”banner-right-placement”]

[the_ad_placement id=”banner-left-placement”]

Board chooses Santa Cruz firm for ADU plans citing time concerns

By Debra Moore

[email protected]

Plumas County Supervisors were united in their desire to make it easier for residents to build accessory dwelling units (ADUs), but split when deciding which entity to hire for the plans.

According to the California Department of Housing and Community: “ADUs have been known by many names: granny flats, in-law units, backyard cottages, secondary units and more … ADUs are one solution to increasing the supply of affordable housing.”

During the board’s April 18 meeting, the supervisors voted 4-1 to sign an agreement between Plumas County and Workbench (based in Santa Cruz) to provide professional services for the design and development of ADU construction plans that have been pre-plan checked by the county’s Building Department. The contract is not to exceed $103,000. By choosing one of the preapproved plans, residents could save time and money.

District 4 Supervisor Greg Hagwood was the lone dissenting voice, because he favored giving the contract to a local building designer — Ken Roper & Associates.

Senior Planner Tim Evans presented the item to the board for consideration with assistance from Planning Director Tracey Ferguson. Evans told the board that the county received a grant to pay for the work. The planning department put out a request for proposals and received six. After reviewing all of the proposals, with points awarded for various aspects, Workbench earned the highest overalls score. “We found the proposal that worked out best,” Evans said. (The local firm placed second in the overall scoring.)

Supervisor Greg Hagwood asked if there would there be an advantage to having a local provider. He favored working with a local entity because they are a known quantity; Ken Roper’s office is even located across the street from the planning department. Hagwood also asked about the monetary consideration, and Evans said that the local bid was less than Workbench.

Planning Director Ferguson said that of the six total respondents – three were shortlisted and interviewed. The scores resulted in 1, 2 and 3 rankings. She explained that though the local bid was the lowest, it was contingent on cash flow, which the county would not be able to address. The firm would be paid when the grant money arrived in the county.

County Administrator Debra Lucero said she reviewed the proposals and thought Workbench “was far and away” the preferred, saying she was impressed with the system.

“It came down to experience and the timeframe,” Ferguson told the board.

Ken Roper, the local applicant, told the board that he has been in business in Quincy for 32 years. “I know that I am as qualified as any design firm in the state to do this work.” He said that the money should stay in the county.

Ferguson discussed the marketing materials available through WorkBench. “We would like it to be a nice glossy product that is very visual; that has the narrative.” She said that while WorkBench had several  plan books to share, the local proposal had a very limited narrative.

“I am going to support a business that we have historical experience with,” Supervisor Hagwood said. “We don’t have any historical experience with Workbench.”

It appeared that Hagwood was swaying some of his fellow supervisors. District 3 Supervisor Tom McGowan, who had made a motion to approve the contract with WorkBench, withdrew that motion.

But then County Counsel Gretchen Stuhr said that any change from the recommendation would delay the process as it would need to be redone.

“The time crunch is already there,” said District 2 Supervisor Kevin Goss. He said that housing is a problem throughout the county but particularly in the Indian Valley area that he represents.

Supervisor Jeff Engel said, “I agree with Kevin – time is of the essence.”

Reached for comment after the meeting, Hagwood said that he was disappointed with the vote, but understood the desire to expedite the process.

[the_ad_placement id=”banner-left-placement”]