Broadnax Logs Mixed Bag on Review Times

Dallas council meeting over permit process
Dallas council meeting over permit process | Image by City of Dallas

Dallas’ building permit processes saw faster review times over the last 12 months.

City staff achieved quicker turnaround times on most building permit review processes over the last fiscal year. However, despite some quicker cycles executed by the city’s Development Services Department (DSD), aspects of the review process still saw underperformance.

Between FY 2021-2022 and FY 2022-2023, DSD lowered commercial prescreens by 95%, commercial initial reviews by 12%, Q-Team initial reviews by 43%, residential prescreens by 88%, residential initial reviews by 53%, and wastewater initial reviews by 25%, according to data presented at an Economic Development Committee (EDC) meeting last week.

While DSD was able to improve the speed of most review processes over the last fiscal year, the department also saw some turnaround times spike. The categories that saw increased review times include paving and drainage initial review (+9%) and transportation initial review (+25%).

“We’re trying to stand up additional team members for our transportation division to perform those reviews and get those turnaround times down,” DSD Director Andrew Espinoza told committee members during the meeting.

In terms of DSD’s pre-screen processes, the department lowered commercial prescreens from 24 days in FY 2021-2022 to one day in FY 2022-2023 and residential prescreens from 17 days to two days, roughly 96% and 88% decreases, respectively. Data for engineering prescreens is unavailable for FY 2021-2022, but DSD averaged one day in FY 2022-2023.

Still, commercial initial reviews dipped from 12 days to 10 days, Q-Team initial reviews fell from seven days to four days, residential initial reviews dropped from 17 days to eight days, and engineering initial reviews decreased from 16 days to 12 days.

“While we are happy for some of the initial success we’ve seen, we recognize there’s still some more work to be done,” Espinoza said.

Although DSD has managed to lower most of its review times over the last year, troubles are still occurring under City Manager T.C. Broadnax.

Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Tennel Atkins (District 8) said the City Council is still getting calls about permitting “problems.”

“We are not administration, we are the policymakers,” he said at the EDC meeting. “So, I just want to make sure that people who listen know that if there is a problem, your office is open. You know, call the right office, and y’all will take care of it.”

“I think that’s the issue. You know, [constituents] keep calling us, and when they call us, we feel like you ain’t doing your job,” Atkins said.

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