Dallas Rolls Out Permitting Activity Heat Map

Dallas City Hall | Image by Shutterstock

Dallas’ Development Services Department (DSD) released its first “New Construction Heat Map” (NCHM), highlighting which districts saw the most approved projects over the last month.

The heat maps include October permit activity data for residential and commercial projects and provide a bird’s eye view of new construction in Dallas, separated by city council district.

The NCHM is Development Services’ latest tool to provide some added transparency and openness to the city’s broken building permit process.

Dallas has a notorious reputation among the development community for having a costly, slow, and frustrating building permit process, hampered by a multitude of internal and external problems such as nonintuitive permitting software, a shortage of employees, unresponsiveness by officials, multi-month-long delays, and more.

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson is one city leader who has grown tired of the city’s downtrodden building permit reputation and has called for a fix to the city’s broken building permit system.

In his 2022 State of the City address on Tuesday, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson outlined 10 major policy areas that local leadership can build on to improve the city’s financial and economic outlook compared to neighboring municipalities.

Dallas’ troublesome building permit backlog was on the list.

“Now, 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,” said Johnson.

“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 told Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax.

In terms of new residential construction permits created in October, the area with the highest amount of permit activity was recorded in District 2, near the Highland Park area of Dallas.

District 2, led by Councilmember Jesse Moreno, had the highest activity, with 33 permits created. District 7, ‚Äčled by Councilmember Adam Bazaldua came in second with 30 permits created.

In comparison, Councilmembers Omar Narvaez of District 6 and Tennell Atkins of District 8 each had 26 new construction permits created for the month.

District 3’s Councilmember Casey Thomas II and District 11’s Councilmember Jaynie Schultz had the least amount of new construction permit activity in their respective communities, averaging only one new construction permit each.

When analyzing the commercial side of new construction permit activity, District 14, led by Councilmember Paul E. Ridley, had the highest creation rate, averaging 102 permits created in October.

Moreno’s District 2 came in a close second with 88 new commercial construction permits created.

Districts 6 and 7 had 33 and 23 commercial permits created, respectively.

Councilmembers Paula Blackmon of District 9 and Gay Donnell Willis of District 13 had no new commercial construction permit activity in October.

In October 2022, DSD’s single-family permit count was 332, with a total construction valuation of $114,762,500, according to DSD’s Permit Valuation Report.

For comparison, in October 2021, DSD reported a permit count of 167 with a total valuation of $61,705,500. This represents a 98.8% increase in permit count and a $53,057,000 bump in valuation.

For the multi-family permit count, Dallas had roughly 141% more activity in 2022 than in 2021. Multi-family permit count averaged 152 in October, up from 63 the year before. The difference in construction valuation between the two years amounted to $288,349,813.

The permit count for commercial projects also increased in 2022, rising from 22 in October 2021 to 83 this year. The difference in construction valuation from October 2021 to 2022 was $215,037,869.

The Dallas Express reached out to Chief Building Official and DSD Director Andrew Espinoza for comment on the NCHM, but he was not immediately available for comment.

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