City of Dallas outlines new plan to get building permit backlog under control

The city of Dallas outlined a new plan to address backlogs in its building permit department. 

It's something the city has been talking about and not fixing for more than two years now. 

This time, the Dallas city manager addressed council members' questions directly. 

Some solutions up for debate were if more outside help is needed or pay raises for existing staff. 

For the first time since the permitting delays in Dallas began, City Manager T.C. Broadnax took a lead role in addressing the issue that's dragged on for about two years now. 

"I will be honest and candid as city manager. I am equally frustrated at the speed we've gone from recognizing challenges to removing those challenges," he said. "I've been pushing staff for improvements to the system. It’s on me for not managing these issues, but I have capable folks."

Two years later, city of Dallas still struggling to get building permit backlog under control

City council members are frustrated that builders are still facing delays.

"I am still getting emails every day," said Councilman Chad West.

Assistant City Manager Majed Al-Ghafry laid out a detailed plan Wednesday with solutions ranging from hiring a third third-party reviewer to paying employees more, but he did not give a timeline. He tried to temper expectations. 

"It can't be fixed in one month. Certain things will be fixed in a month, but we have to prioritize," he said.

Al-Ghafry and the city manager also questioned the impact of the backlog. 

"Developers are not walking away from Dallas. We have 6,500 permits a year. That is phenomenal," they said.

Dallas residential construction permit backlog cleared, city officials say

Dallas Builders Association President Phil Crone says the problem is real. 

"Our association covers 10 counties over 100 cities. There is exactly one right now that's had permitting issues for any duration of time, let alone going on 26 months right now," he said.

Crone says what takes other cities 2-3 weeks is still taking 10-12 weeks in Dallas in some cases, costing builders and their clients hundreds of dollars a day. 

"When are we going to get through this?" he said.

On Wednesday, no promises were made. 

"I am making sure we hold ourselves accountable and have days full of people praising staff instead of the cloud we’ve had for the last year and a half," Broadnax said.


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