Dallas’ Development Services Department (DSD) released its monthly permit activity report for September, showing an increase in the number of residential building permits created as well as a rise in the average number of days to issue.
Considering the City’s backlog of residential building permits and its slow-moving process, DSD director Andrew Espinoza has shown progress in tackling the issue since accepting his role in June.
September was DSD’s strongest month this year, with 412 new residential single-family (RSF) permits created, according to DSD’s October 2022 Newsletter sent via email on Wednesday.
On a year-over-year basis, the department added 110 more permits in September 2022 than it did in the previous year, representing a 36.4% increase. When measuring the month-over-month change, DSD also reported an uptick in permits created.
Furthermore, September saw an upward movement in permits created from the tail end of summer, with a dramatic increase in permit requests from August.
“A total of 181 additional permits from the previous month were processed for the month of September,” DSD said. “This represents a 78% increase compared to the month of August.”
October’s newsletter also provided information on the distribution of permits issued by DSD in September. Remodeling projects comprised the highest number of permits issued for the month.
A total of 305 “remodeling” permits were issued in September, 82 more than the next highest category of “NSF permits.” One hundred and twenty-three permits were issued for “additions,” 34 were issued for the “Rapid Single-Family VIP Program” (RSVP), and 32 permits were issued for the “others” category.
Developers have expressed frustration with the City’s sluggish permit issuance time. Phil Crone, director of the Dallas Builders Association, said it could cost builders anywhere from $200-$300 per project per day, as reported by The Dallas Express.
DSD took an average of 41 days to issue an RSF permit in September versus the 32 days it took in the previous month. Despite an eight-day month-over-month increase in issuance time, the department reported an annual decrease of 23 days, dropping from 64 days in September of 2021 to 41 during the same month this year.
“While Andrew and the new management team are very enthusiastic about tackling the issue and have helped us move many dozens of deadlocked projects, overall timelines are still about what they were in the summer,” Crone said. He added that most applicants wait more than 10 weeks to receive approval.
“We’ve made it clear the importance of releasing accurate timelines, and that really needs to be a priority,” he said. “Even if those deadlines aren’t where we should be, and if some of that is due to the applicant or someone other than the City, we still need to know what we’re working on to determine our priorities.”
Other notable permit activity highlights for September included:
- 34 RSVP new single-family permits were issued the same day.
- Remodel/additions single-family permits were issued on average within five business days.
- Third-party vendors performed 582 reviews.
Even though the recent permit activity report suggests that Espinoza’s department is moving in a positive direction, DSD still has work to do before the department is up and running at the rate it operated at prior to COVID.
In October 2019, the average time to issuance for an SFR permit was only three days. Now, nearly three years later, the average time to issuance is 40 days — over 1200% longer than before.
Additionally, although The Dallas Express received the newsletter via email, DSD has yet to upload August’s and September’s permit activity reports to the department’s website. The most recent online newsletters include data from July.