Building Permit Year-End Recap | Part 2

Wood Home Framing Abstract At Construction Site. | Image by Andy Dean Photography, Shutterstock

Suppose an end-of-the-year review measured Dallas’ City Manager T.C. Broadnax’s progress in resolving the city’s permit issue. How would local real estate professionals and developers grade his performance?

That is an important question to examine heading into 2023, and one that Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson is closely monitoring the answer to, given the absence of Broadnax’s promised current-year building permit fix.

The Dallas Express recapped the first half of Andrew Espinoza’s time as Dallas’ chief building official from May to July in part one of this series. Now, we will continue looking at the last three months of available data with added focus on the official upon whose shoulders the building permit burden truly rests: Broadnax.

As mentioned in part one, Broadnax is the local official tasked with overseeing the city’s Development Services Department (DSD) and is principally in charge of resolving the city’s troubled backlog.

“Mr. City Manager, we need you to take our city government to the next level by ensuring that the services we offer, such as those in our city’s permitting office, are first-class and customer-centric,” Mayor Johnson said during this year’s State of the City Address. “I know our city council is ready to give you whatever tools you need to make that happen. We need urgency, and we need results,” he insisted.

With the 2022 calendar year drawing to a close and the permit backlog far from fixed, an end-of-the-year recap of Dallas’ DSD is in order to provide a snapshot of current progress and the road ahead.


As August arrived, DSD remained headstrong in finding a permitting fix.

During the busy month, the electronic plan review software received a much-needed upgrade, several new initiatives were rolled out, and the department conducted several training sessions that created opportunities to engage Dallas residents and stakeholders.

Following the launch of DSD’s Service First Bulletin, a second bulletin was created detailing the department’s new Residential Single-Family VIP Program (RSVP). A complete list of DSD’s Service First Bulletins can be found on the department’s Documents and Forms page.

The number of new single-family (NSF) permits created by DSD during the month of August improved from a low of 154 in July to a high of 231. The average time to issue an NSF permit was 32 days in August, the same as in June and one day fewer than in July.

At the end of August, DSD launched its first Lunch and Learn training, an educational initiative held at the Development Services Training Center. The first Lunch and Learn was hosted by DSD’s Land Development Team, which discussed planning application requirements and survey guidelines.


Following a summer filled with a burst of permit initiatives and programs, permit-related activity in September moved at a much slower pace. One of DSD’s main announcements during the month was that it had purchased a new building designed to be a “one-stop shop” for all customers’ permitting needs. DSD’s new facility will be located at 7800 N. Stemmons Fwy.

A month after the rollout of the RSVP, DSD announced it had booked 60 appointments and issued 35 building permits through the program. In total, 412 NSF permits were created in September, an increase of 181 from the month before. Issuance time also increased by nine days, landing at 41 days for the month.


October is the last month of available permit activity data from DSD. Unlike September, October’s permit activity took a sharp nose dive, reversing the positive trajectory the department had made in the two months prior.

Permit activity for October showed a nearly 60% drop in NSF permits created, decreasing from 412 in September to 168 a month later, according to DSD data. The average number of days to issue an NSF permit increased by nine days, rising to 50 from 41 the month before.

During the month, DSD launched a new monthly Economic Impact Report, which the department claimed will provide customers with a detailed overview of the various building permit valuations. The department also announced that it had cleared its initial review backlog of “overdue” NSF permits.

Another key event for the month included a partnership between DSD and the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, as well as Prime Lending, on a new first-time homebuyers’ program. Lastly, DSD attended the Dallas Builders Association Luncheon, hosted another hiring event, and continued its Lunch and Learn series with an introduction to zoning.

While DSD has begun expanding community outreach through new customer-centric initiatives, Espinoza and DSD staff have only scratched the surface in terms of tackling the issue.

In a December 13 Housing and Homelessness Solutions meeting, City Council Member Paula Blackmon of District 9 blasted city staff for not including permits in their timeline on the launch of a proposed Senior Home Rehabilitation Program.

“I agree with the timeline … but you don’t even have permits, and people need permits,” Blackmon pointed out.

“I don’t know if the city attorneys are listening, but get it (the timeline) in sooner than later,” she said.

“I mean, seriously. I’m not joking about permits,” Blackmon insisted. “That was the one thing that was not listed. There was comms and everything else, but there was no permitting time.”

With 2022 winding down and after a six-month practice run, significant progress will likely be demanded of Espinoza heading into 2023. November’s DSD activity and permit data will be released toward the last week of December. November’s newsletter was not yet been uploaded to DSD’s website as of this article’s writing.

The progression of NSF permit data from May to October was tracked using charts covering 2022-2023 found in DSD’s November newsletter, received via email.

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1 Comment

  1. athinkingwoman

    Fine him!


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