Dallas’ Development Services Department has revamped its Lunch and Learn training series for the new year to include more concise discussions with industry stakeholders regarding the various pre-development and development topics that affect the city’s growth.

Friday’s training session covered a brief introduction to the survey and subdivision review and approval process, as well as guidelines for submission and processing.

Dallas senior planner Sharmila Shrestha and John Stepp of the Development Services Department’s (DSD) survey group led the one-hour training session, which broke down the numerous steps needed to certify a legal building site, the common omissions, deviations, and errors made by applicants, and the various online resources available to the public, among other related topics.

The first step in certifying a building site as “legal” is to get the proposed land plat. A plat is a “graphic presentation of one or more lots or tracks of land, or of a subdivision, resubdivision, combination or recombination of lots or tracks.”

Plats are generally required before a building permit or certificate of occupancy can be issued. As previously reported by The Dallas Express, DSD has allegedly been plagued by various inefficiencies and periodic permitting backlogs under the leadership of City Manager T.C. Broadnax. Despite its efforts to educate the public and stakeholders through its training and outreach sessions, DSD purportedly still struggles with commercial permit turnaround times.

DSD’s survey group handles most of the work involved with the platting process in Dallas, including providing customer service and conducting preliminary plat reviews, final plat reviews, field note reviews, and survey research.

A subdivision in Dallas is considered either a major or a minor plat. The difference between the two is that a major plat requires paving, drainage, water, sewer, or other engineering plans. In contrast, a minor plat does not require engineering plans and has an area that does not exceed five acres for residential zoning districts and three acres for all other zoning districts.

The purpose of a subdivision is to steer the future growth and development of the city; guide public policy and action in order to provide adequate and efficient transportation, streets, storm drainage, water, wastewater, parks, and open space facilities; and provide for the proper location and width of streets and building lines.

Overall, Friday’s presentation aimed to educate attendees on the many details concerning submittals in the survey review process, strengthen communication and understanding between private surveyors and the City of Dallas, and disseminate the resources and information required for comprehensive submittals.