Broadnax’s Permit Approval Times Tick Down

Building permit form | Image by Francesco Scatena

Dallas’ permitting department has managed to reduce the cycle times for residential construction permits over the past two years, but despite quicker plan reviews and approvals, more work is still needed.

Approval times for single-family construction permits fell to a median of six days in October, down from eight days in September, according to the latest data from the Development Services Department’s (DSD) residential permit activity dashboard (RPAD).

Overall, DSD received 182 residential permit applications in October, slightly lower than the previous month but in line with the majority of volume received this year. As for permit approvals, DSD issued 191 single-family permits during the month, 10 more than in September and the fifth-highest amount of the year.

While the median amount of time needed to issue a single-family permit in October was six days, DSD’s median time year-to-date is 16 days, one day longer than the department’s 15-day goal.

Of the initial reviews undertaken in October, 97% were completed in 15 days or less, the same percentage as in September and tied for the best-performing month of the year. DSD’s two worst-performing months of the year were January and February, both of which saw permit approval take two months or longer.

In total, DSD has received 1,717 residential permit applications and issued 1,768 in 2023, RPAD data shows. Meanwhile, the number of permits remaining in the department’s queue at the end of October was 296.

Although DSD has made a number of improvements and created several initiatives over the years to address long approval times, lengthy wait times and periodic permitting backlogs continue to plague the department under Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax.

In general, the number of homebuilding permits has fallen in most cities across North Texas, but residential permits in Dallas have seen a nearly 30% decrease year over year.

Additionally, while DSD was supposed to release a new dashboard for commercial permits in October — similar to the RPAD — the department decided to postpone the release, allegedly to ensure maximum transparency and accurate information, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

Due to DSD’s history of not denying permits and waiting for developers to complete permit requirements, DSD Assistant Director Vernon Young explained that the department delayed the release of the commercial dashboard to ensure the numbers were relevant and accurate.

“We want to be as transparent as possible and show you guys things from 2018 and 2019,” Young told Dallas’ Economic Development Committee.

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