DPZ, Partners (DPZ) has been retained as Community Architect (CA) on a provisional six month contact.
I know that the CA appointment has been a topic of interest this past month with emails and letters being sent to the board and a number of posts on the Nextdoor website. Here is a summary of recent developments.
February BOT Meeting – the Kentlands Board and President Barney Gorin agreed to have an open bid process for the CA position that expired on March 31, 2017. President Gorin and GM Beth Brittingham were tasked with writing an RFP to be distributed by March 1st.
March BOT Meeting – President Gorin submitted the bids received for the open CA position to the Board, officially appointing SNG, a firm on Main Street in Kentlands. The Board did not confirm SNG and asked to meet with them. The Board asked DPZ to remain as Community Architect for one month until April 30, 2017.
April 24, 2017 – The Board of Trustees met with SNG.
April BOT Meeting – After extensive community discussion, the consensus feeling in the community was that the KCA and DPZ needed to work to repair our differences. Consequently, the Board had to vote to reject SNG as Community Architect. SNG’s qualifications were not discussed at the meeting. The vote to reject them was not about their capabilities, rather the desire to give DPZ a provisional contract. President Gorin then appointed DPZ on a six month term and the Board confirms this appointment with a 5-0 vote.
The decision to open the CA position to bid was made primarily due to two reasons. First was an inability of DPZ to help the KCA leadership understand arguments concerning certain suitable materials and convince us why some visual change exceptions are granted and others are not. Second were issues concerning professional decorum that the KCA leadership felt was inappropriate for a contractor to the KCA. The consensus among the homeowners who attended the meeting was that the KCA needs to move forward working to rectify these issues.
I want to thank all those citizens who attended the April Board meeting, who emailed the KCA Leadership and who discussed issues on Nextdoor.com. While the Kentlands is known for it’s New Urbanism design and its great architecture, I believe that what makes it special are its people. Kentlands has been sustained through the years by its many citizens who have stood up to be heard, and have volunteered countless hours of their time to our community leadership and committees.
As I discussed at the Board meeting, I regret some shortcomings in the communication from the KCA Leadership. In February, we accelerated the RFP time schedule because until that point we failed to recognize that the current contract expired at the end of March. The accelerated time frame, combined with not utilizing all means of communication with the community, gave the impression that this process was being done covertly. That was not our desire and things should have been handled differently.
The KCA looks forward to working with DPZ into the future. The final terms of the new contact with DPZ have not been completed as this edition of the Town Crier goes to print, however, DPZ’s means of success will be clear both to them and the community. Longtime Kentlands resident Clyde Horton has offered to help DPZ and KCA move forward. He will be meeting with DPZ staff, the KCA Board, the KCA President, and the CMC General Manager. He may even meet with a focus group of residents. In addition, I would anticipate that he will lead a committee that meets a few times over the next six months. The KCA leadership will update Kentlands citizens on the status of the KCA/Community Architect working relationship at the September Board meeting, well before the DPZ contract expires at the end of October.
At our April meeting DPZ’s Marina Khoury said, “Kentlands is not only a unique New Urbanist town, its community spirit is strong and alive and that played itself out beautifully. The public process is a powerful reminder of how a community can shape itself, physically but also organizationally. It operated the way it should, and the community should take comfort in that and remain engaged. I am glad the KCA listened and acted accordingly.”
We all understand that this has been a difficult process. But the Kentlands community came together and, through thoughtful dialog, we have created a road map for a stronger partnership. I am of the view that all relationships can be salvaged. It just takes two parties willing to move forward together. I am optimistic that we are moving forward together. We look forward to working with DPZ and the entire Kentlands community as we share a healthy, positive future together.