Full-Year Report on Broadnax Permit Overhaul

Building permit applications | Image by tattywelshie/Getty Images

A report details the steps and actions Dallas’ Development Services Department took during fiscal year 2022-23 to enhance its building permit process and customer service.

In addition to accelerating its residential and commercial permitting times throughout the year, DSD’s new 2022-23 annual report shows the department enhanced its plan review software platform, implemented new customer-facing initiatives, began renovations on its new permitting building, met with the Dallas City Council on future improvements, and more.

“When I joined the Development Services Department in the Summer of 2022, I took on the challenges of improving our customer service delivery, response times, consistency, and permitting,” DSD Director Andrew Espinoza said in the report. “I am extremely proud of the work our team has accomplished in FY 2022-23 and am grateful for their efforts.”

Some of the objectives and goals DSD tackled over the fiscal period include launching the DallasNow project, implementing “Pop Up Permit Saturdays,” standing up same-day permitting initiatives, recruiting and hiring over 75 vacant positions, and adopting 2021 International Codes.

“I am pleased with the direction and trajectory of our organization and am 100% confident we will steadily improve,” Espinoza said.

Although DSD was successful with some of the initiatives and programs in FY 2022-23, some initiatives, such as the Pop Up Permit Saturdays, were ultimately canceled due to low engagement, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

Additionally, the department previously struggled with permit backlogs and substantial delays in turnaround times under City Manager T.C. Broadnax. The city manager recently announced he would resign in early June after seven years during which Dallas saw increases in crime, taxes, and City spending.

Setbacks aside, DSD rolled out new initiatives and programs to help fast-track review times and improve communication with the community.

For instance, DSD’s Central Files team will transition to an “Open Records Only” process beginning March 1, 2024. DSD claims the new service improves transparency and aligns with the Texas Public Information Act requirements.

The new process is meant to ensure that DSD correctly tracks, documents, and responds to customer and resident requests, the department said in a February 27 newsletter. DSD also claims the change will ensure that procedures and response times meet the minimum state requirements.

According to DSD, the updated process will not only save customers time but also save them on the printing costs associated with paper copies. Furthermore, the department said the new initiative will save customers countless hours and trips, and help contribute to a more sustainable Dallas.

Average permitting times were also improved. For instance, residential pre-screens fell from 12 days to two days; commercial pre-screens dropped from 24 days to one day; initial residential reviews decreased from 17 days to eight days; initial commercial reviews plunged from 24 days to one day; and Q-Team initial reviews declined from seven days to four days.

The report says there was $5.1 billion in “total estimated construction valuation economic impact” for FY 2022-23. DSD issued permits for about 1,800 new single-family projects and 1,300 residential additions. The combined economic impact of these permits based on project valuation was $833 million and $120 million, respectively.

According to the report, DSD issued permits for 400 new commercial projects and 1,300 commercial additions. The estimated valuation of these projects was $887 million and $85 million, respectively.

Click here for a complete list of FY 2022-23 accomplishments.

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