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Amidst Builder Frustration, City Permitting Agency Seeks Engagement

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Architect at work on a construction site. | Image by Chanchai Phetdikhai, Shutterstock

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Dallas’ Development Services Department (DSD) is set to host an upcoming “lunch and learn” initiative aiming to strengthen community engagement amid a slow permit process causing costly construction delays and impeding growth in Dallas.

DSD’s newest chief building official Andrew Espinoza is the man in charge of fixing the city’s multiyear permit backlog that has left many local builders and developers frustrated with the whole ordeal.

Espinoza took over the role on June 1, 2022, following the department’s failed transition to an online permit environment.

After nearly four months in the position and launching several new initiatives, Espinoza and his team believe they are beginning to make an impact on wait times for single-family building permits.

“More in-person events and engagement initiatives will go a long way to strengthen community confidence in the department and help build long-term relationships with the people of Dallas,” Espinoza told The Dallas Express.

Titled, “Unboxed – A lunch and learn series,” the lunch and learn program encourages professional contractors, developers, surveyors, and engineers to “bring your lunch and spend an hour with us as we discuss best practices in construction management with the land development team,” according to a Facebook post from DSD.

“Our lunch and learn series will include discussions on various topics like, ‘How to get a CFO,’ ‘Top 10 Developer Projects,’ and ‘Best Practices for Builders,’ Espinoza told The Dallas Express. “We encourage anyone interested to bring a soda or snack and network with other builders and developers from the community,” he added.

While the lunch and learn event might be an effective tool for some developers and builders to network, it does not reduce the backlog of building permits.

“I’m sure the lunch and learn series will offer a deep dive into the development process, add to transparency, and help answer questions, but it won’t do much to speed up the permitting process,” Executive Director of the Dallas Builders Association Phil Crone told The Dallas Express.

Even though the lunch and learn events won’t directly impact how fast permits are issued, “they will help cultivate the customer-first mindset Andrew and his team are working towards with the community,” Crone said.

The goal is to host four lunch and learn events per month, according to Espinoza. The lunch and learn series will begin Friday, September 30, from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm at 400 South Zang Boulevard, C95 Dallas. You can click here to register.

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