The Technical Assistance Program (TAP) is a service offered by ULI Charlotte as part of ULI’s Advisory Services Program. Since 1947, the Advisory Services Program has been assisting communities by bringing real estate, planning, and development experts together to provide unbiased pragmatic advice for addressing complex land use and development issues.
In 2005, ULI Charlotte adapted this model of technical assistance to provide local municipalities and community based non‐profit organizations objective and responsible advice.
The strength of the ULI Charlotte Technical Assistance Program lies in the cross‐section of experts examining the issue from all angles and producing an implementation strategy that is based on sound information, community realities, and best practices. Panels approach the assignment from all perspectives, including market potential, land use and design, financing and development strategies, and organization and implementation. This objective and diverse team of real estate and planning professionals would not be available “for hire” anywhere.
- Panel members volunteer their time to serve on the panel and are not compensated for their time.
- A ULI Charlotte member who has served on a previous assignment chairs the panel.
- No member of the panel has a conflict of interest, real or perceived, by serving on the panel.
- The panel’s recommendations are unbiased and cannot be modified substantively once given to the
All panel assignments promote ULI’s mission to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide.
THE TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (TAP)
The Technical Assistance Program (TAP) is designed do a variety of things.
- It provides the members of ULI Charlotte an avenue for involvement in the local district council and a
means to giving back to their community.
- It provides a method for ULI Charlotte to be more involved in the local community.
- It provides the local community access to expertise and advice that they could not obtain through any
THE TAP FRAMEWORK
TAPs are typically a one‐day intensive working session where an expert panel addresses a problem proposed by the sponsoring organization ‐ a local government, non‐profit organization, or developer – about a specific development issue or policy barrier within a defined geographic area. The sponsoring organization develops three or four well‐defined questions that it would like the panel to address. The scope of the assignment is such that the panel can adequately address the issues in the 1 or 1‐1/2‐day session.
Prior to the panel convening, ULI Charlotte, with input from the sponsor, prepares and distributes briefing materials to the panelists. A suggested briefing book outline is contained later in this document.
The typical components of the session include:
- Sponsor briefing
- Tour of the study area
- Interviews with local experts and stakeholders
- Round table discussion with sponsor representatives
- Work session by the panel to develop the recommendations
- Presentation of the panel’s recommendations to the sponsor and its representatives in a closed session at the end day
THE TAP PANEL
The success of the Technical Assistance Program (TAP) process is dependent on the quality of the panel and the clarity of the sponsor’s vision and problem statement. Panelists include ULI Charlotte members with relevant expertise and experience related to the assignment. Panelists are chosen for their relevant knowledge and expertise and are senior members within their organizations. A good cross‐section of panelists in areas such as finance, marketing, planning and housing provide the sponsor with well‐rounded recommendations. Panelists will be chosen with the assistance of ULI Charlotte’s TAP Committee with input from the sponsor of the panel.
A ULI Charlotte member chairs the session and leads the panel to consensus. The chair will also have substantive knowledge of the issues. All panelists will be screened by ULI Charlotte with input from the sponsor for conflict of interest. If a potential panelist has a conflict – perceived or real – they will not be asked to serve on the panel. It is critical that the panel bring total objectivity to the sponsor.
The panel presents its findings and recommendations in a closed session at the end of the TAP. Should the sponsor choose to engage ULI Charlotte, a public presentation of the panel’s recommendations may be scheduled (usually within a two week period). A final written report is completed usually within six weeks of the panel.
ELEMENTS OF SELECTED PROJECTS
ULI Charlotte may receive several requests for TAPs during the request for proposal period. To help the District Council determine if an assignment is feasible, the sponsor(s) should provide some preliminary background information. The potential sponsor will be asked to complete an Application Form. This allows ULI Charlotte to evaluate if the request is appropriate for a TAP. In particular, a request should meet the following criteria:
- The sponsor is a local government or non‐profit organization.
- The assignment can be completed within 1 day.
- There is expertise within the ULI Charlotte’s membership to address the issues.
- The assignment meets ULI’s mission.
ULI Charlotte will screen the project to ensure that the sponsor is not just looking for a ULI endorsement of their project. The Technical Assistance Program (TAP) is not a certification process; it is designed to provide constructive advice. All requests will be reviewed by ULI Charlotte’s TAP Committee.
Once an assignment is selected for a TAP, representatives from ULI Charlotte will meet with the sponsor to discuss both logistical and programmatic aspects of the assignment. Specifically, these include:
- Scope and expectations
- Briefing materials
- Roles and responsibilities
- Expertise needed for the assignment
A contact person from ULI Charlotte will be designated to facilitate communication.
ULI Charlotte charges the host community $15,000 for a panel and summary report. The fees are designed to cover approximately half of the total expense to ULI Charlotte. In addition, the sponsor must provide overnight accommodations (if the panel is outside the Charlotte area, meeting accommodations, food and beverage, as outlined the sponsor responsibilities). All panel members are to serve on a voluntary basis.
To help organize the TAP program, ULI Charlotte’s TAP Committee has been designated to market and manage APs. One of the purposes of the TAP Committee is to review TAP applications, help select panelists for the assignment, and develop/oversee the overall TAP program for ULI Charlotte.
The ULI Charlotte TAP Committee uses the following criteria to choose a sponsor:
- Commitment from constituents, staff and elective officials in support of the technical assistance program
- A problem statement and questions that are specific, well‐defined and manageable for a one‐day session
- Demonstrated need for the assistance of the panel and that the panel will benefit residents and/or businesses that need the assistance
- Resonance of the issue to be tackled to other communities in the region
- Geographic distribution in the region
Day 1 ‐
3:00‐5:00pm Briefing and Study Area Tour
6:00pm Dinner (at the discretion of the sponsor)
Day 2 ‐
8:30‐11:30am Interviews with key stakeholders
11:30‐4:30pm Work Session and panel deliberations
4:30‐5:30pm Presentation to Sponsor
This agenda will be customized based on the study area and location of the panel.
LIST OF RESPONSIBILITIES
Sponsor (TAP Client)
- Provide a briefing book in advance of the TAP that will include site plans, base maps and aerial photos
- Define problem statement; 3‐4 questions for panel
- Assist in choosing panel date
- Assist in choosing panel location (interview area and work area) and presentation venue with directions and parking information
- Review proposed panelists/chair for potential conflict
- Provide a list of local stakeholders for interviews (typically 10‐15 people which would include members of the public and private sectors that might provide valuable insight into the study area)
- Provide an electronic file of study area photos (for use in the report and TAP presentation)
- Additional resources that may be too bulky for the briefing book, such as zoning and general plan materials, market data, economic studies, projections, maps
- Conduct tour, with appropriate transportation, of study area with hand‐held map of area for each participant
- Assist during TAP as needed (work sessions are closed to panelists only, however, there will be times that the panelist will want to discuss some of the draft recommendations with the sponsor)
- Assist in reviewing all press releases (after the fact)
- Review and comment on draft panel report
- Help define problem statement
- Recruit chair and panelists
- Handle advance and on‐site logistics for the panel
- Develop the TAP agenda
- Invite potential interviewees/stakeholders to participate
- Ongoing planning meetings with sponsor supplemented by regular communications
- Prepare draft and final report
- Work with sponsor on appropriate public relations
- Approve of, and help recruit, the panelists
- Approve problem statement
- Facilitate the panel
- Assign teams as needed to complete the work
- Manage the time available to ensure a private presentation is prepared and made to the sponsor at the end session
- Approve final report
- Read briefing book in advance
- Participate the entire TAP as a volunteer
- Work as a team to develop recommendations
- Work as a team to prepare professional private presentation to be given to the sponsor
- Be available for questions/comments after the panel concludes
- Submit work notes for the final report and review the draft report for accuracy