What is a Housing Sites Inventory?

A housing sites inventory is an inventory of land suitable for residential development in a community and typically includes vacant sites and sites having the potential for redevelopment (i.e., low-density land uses). These inventories also typically include an analysis of the relationship of zoning, public facilities, and services to these sites. Once developed, a housing sites inventory can be used to identify suitable land for new housing development as well as ideal locations for new development which can help meet other important municipal goals (i.e., access to goods and services, proximity to transit). A housing sites inventory can also be used to identify ideal parcels and locations to be included in Request for Proposals to encourage new housing development (see below).

What is a Request for Concept or Request for Proposal for new housing development?

Requests for Concepts (RFC) and Requests for Proposals (RFP) are tools that can be used to solicit conceptual development proposals for specific sites for new housing development. One of the primary benefits of an RFC/RFP is that it proactively describes what the community and municipality want from new housing development and the required conditions that must be met to develop the site. Providing detailed information to developers about the desired goals for new housing development can help improve the quality of development proposals received by municipalities and expedite the development process.

A number of factors need to be considered when selecting a site or sites that will be the subject of a housing RFC/RFP. Examples of things to consider when selecting a site include but are not limited to:

  • Existing zoning and building potential.
  • Compatibility with adjacent and nearby land use.
  • Environmental factors such as flooding and wetlands.
  • Presence of potential health hazards such as asbestos, lead-based paint, or harmful substances left from prior uses of the site.
  • Proximity and accessibility to utilities and infrastructure (roads, sewer, water).
  • Proximity and accessibility to opportunities and services such as schools, public transit, businesses, and parks.
  • Property ownership.

How to create and issue an RFC/RFP

The development of RFC/RFPs typically occurs after a suitable site or sites have been selected for the development of new housing. Municipalities can create an RFC/RFP using in-house staff, or they may wish to hire a consultant. Upon request, the Ulster County Planning Department will support communities through the process of site selection, drafting an RFC/RFP, and using evaluation criteria to evaluate proposals and select a proposal.

There is no uniform format for an RFC/RFP as different sites and municipalities have varying needs. However, there are basic categories of information that should be included an RFC/RFP. These include:

  • Clear articulation of community goals for the project – A narrative about why the municipality is seeking to develop this site and how it will advance community goals.
  • Description and location of the site – A narrative description of the site and other relevant information and metrics including address, parcel ID, lot size, etc.
  • Terms of disposition of land – Indicating whether it is a sale or lease.
  • Type of development – The type of development that the municipality is seeking such as multifamily housing, duplex, mixed-use development, etc.
  • Conditions of development – A description of required components of the proposed development, this could include things like affordability, design standards, the inclusion of commercial space, or amenities. These components can be categorized as either required or preferred.
  • Submission requirements – Submission deadlines and required supporting documentation to be submitted by the applicant including references, qualifications, examples of past work, etc.
  • Evaluation criteria – How the municipality will evaluate and compare submitted proposals.
  • Schedule/timeline – The timeline for scheduled site visits, interviews, and project selection.

Minimum Criteria for the RFC/RFP process:

  • Complete a housing sites inventory that includes vacant sites and sites having the potential for redevelopment (i.e., low-density land uses).
  • Develop an internal process for how the municipality will evaluate and compare submitted proposals
  • Develop an RFC/RFP for soliciting housing development proposals that consider the inclusion of all the items listed above.

Examples of Housing Sites Inventory

City of Sacramento, CA – Housing Element Land Inventory

Town of Moraga, CA – Housing Element Housing Sites Inventory 

Examples for RFC/RFP for housing development

City of Hudson, NY – Request for Proposals for Affordable Housing Project Development

City of Buffalo, NY – RFP New Construction Infill for First Time Homeownership

City of San Diego, CA – Request for Proposals for Development of Affordable Housing

Additional Resources:

Housing Toolbox – Writing an RFP

Housing Toolbox – RFP Comparative Criteria