Technical Assistance Panels in Activity Centers
Technical Assistance Panels (TAPs) are one of ULI Washington’s signature programs, where a panel of 10-12 senior-level experts work over a concentrated timeline to evaluate and provide market-based feedback on a local development or land use challenge. Panelists are selected from over 2,200 ULI Washington members in the Metropolitan Washington Area based on needed skillsets and expertise to address the problem at hand. Panel member expertise typically includes developers, property owners/managers, investors, designers, planners, engineers, market and financial analysts, as well as members of the public sector. The panel takes place over 1.5 days, with a report of recommendations completed thereafter.
Through a strategic partnership, ULI Washington and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) will deliver TAPs between 2018-2019 focused on identifying priority, catalytic strategies to maximize the impacts of investments in COG-designated Activity Centers. The panel takes place over 1.5 days, with a report of recommendations completed thereafter.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) What is the benefit of holding a TAP?
Think of a TAP as a fast-paced brainstorming session with a group of outside experts who will use their extensive professional experience to respond to a set of specific questions posed by a local government sponsor. The panel of professionals who come together to serve on a TAP are leading experts in the real estate, land use, planning and community development fields, and are hand-selected for each TAP based on the specific local challenge and on the skill sets needed to address this challenge. The multi-disciplinary nature of the panel and the quick-response nature of the TAP process often allow for new, creative ideas to be explored and vetted with a group of experts who bring “fresh eyes” to the issue. To review past TAPs conducted by ULI Washington in the Metropolitan Washington Area, visit www.washington.uli.org/TAPs.
2) What is the typical agenda for a TAP?
The TAP takes place over 1.5 days. On Day One, the panel listens and learns. They will tour the study area, hear a presentation from the city or county sponsor, and meet with key local stakeholders. On Day Two, the panel deliberates, collaborates, and develops recommendations, all of which culminate in a presentation that evening. A TAP sample agenda may be viewed here. A final written report is also developed and delivered approximately 12 weeks after the end of the TAP.
3) What kind of stakeholder/public involvement is involved in a TAP?
Stakeholder involvement is a key part of the TAP process. Due to the short term (1.5 days total) timeline of a TAP, ULI Washington works with the TAP sponsor (usually a city or county) to identify a group of key stakeholders whose input will be essential to the panel in addressing the local challenge. During the first day of the panel exercise, the ULI experts meet with these stakeholders and listen to their views. The broader public is usually invited to hear the panel’s presentation on Day 2, and is encouraged to share feedback at that time. It is important to note that a TAP is a very short-term, exploratory exercise that usually serves as one step in a broader public planning process, which would involve more extensive public outreach.
4) What are the roles and responsibility of the sponsor?
The city/county sponsor will be responsible for developing a briefing book which provides the essential background information needed for the panel to tackle the assignment. In addition to staff time required to prepare the briefing book, additional time commitment is required on the part of local staff. While ULI Washington will take the lead on coordinating logistics for the 1.5 day TAP, the sponsor is responsible for providing the meeting rooms on-site, arranging to feed the Panel throughout the program, preparing an overview presentation, leading a site visit of the project area, and inviting local stakeholders to participate.
5) What is the cost of the TAP?
The cost to the city/county sponsor for this program is $10,000. ULI Washington and COG will each contribute $5,000 to cover the remainder of the TAP fee which totals $20,000.
6) How can I learn more?
If you have an idea for a panel that falls within a COG-designated Activity Center, contact Deborah.firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss options.
The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) is an independent, nonprofit association that brings area leaders together to address major regional issues in the District of Columbia, suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia. COG’s membership is comprised of 300 elected officials from 24 local governments, the Maryland and Virginia state legislatures, and U.S. Congress. Policies are set through the COG Board of Directors, the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board, and the Metropolitan Washington Air Quality Committee. These three boards are responsible for a broad range of issues under the COG umbrella, including but not limited to transportation, land-use, public health and safety, education, the environment and more. To learn more about COG, visit www.mwcog.org.
Questions may be directed to Deborah Kerson Bilek at ULI Washington, email@example.com.