Dallas’ Development Services Department has two new teams to help speed up development and permit processing.
The department (DSD) announced on October 31 the creation and activation of a “Permit Intake Team” and a “Zoning Consultation Team” to help accelerate development in Dallas.
According to DSD, the Permit Intake Team will perform an “in-depth prescreen” before accepting a customer’s application. By performing a thorough review of a project before submission, DSD says it will allow applicants time to “correct errors and provide all required documents before the application is accepted.”
“By ensuring every submittal is complete, our staff is better able to perform the review according to our established performance goals and service delivery standards, thus resulting in faster permit issuance,” DSD said in its October 2023 newsletter, which was provided to The Dallas Express via email.
In general, Dallas has garnered a bad reputation for its permitting process. Often deemed “slow” and “frustrating” by local builders, Dallas’ permit process has somewhat hampered the city’s ability to attract developers and new projects, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.
During an Economic Development Committee meeting with DSD in October, District 14 Council Member Paul Ridley asked if the department had determined — with respect to HB 14 — how it was going to deal with “premature applications” that come in “before zoning is obtained or BCA action is received.”
“So that you don’t get dinged for other departments’ delays,” Ridley commented.
DSD had activated an intake team that “screens permits for zoning,” DSD Assistant Director Vernon Young told Ridley during the meeting.
“This intake team will become specialized in intake and making sure that everything is there, making sure that it’s applicable, and that [projects] are not in a floodplain,” Young explained. “If there’s an issue, then that’s our first line of defense as far as making sure that it doesn’t even get in the queue.”
According to Young, the number one area that projects get stuck in Dallas is zoning.
“If they get the zoning right and they’re not in a floodplain or so forth, [applications] fly through,” he said.
In addition to DSD’s Permit Intake Team, the department also “stood up” a Zoning Consultation Team. According to DSD, the Zoning Consultation Team will provide permit customers with complimentary, 20-minute zoning consultations.
“We have project coordinators that are stationed throughout building code, through zoning, and so forth that can walk folks through” the zoning requirements, said Young during the EDC meeting.
While walk-in customers are still accepted, DSD prefers customers utilize the department’s online scheduling platform. Online scheduling is encouraged to “increase efficiency and the quality of each consultation,” DSD said in the October newsletter.