Dallas homeowners frustrated with building permit backlog from city

Dallas leaders are blaming the COVID-19 pandemic for a backlog of building permits.

Some homeowners are waiting as long as three months to get a permit that used to be issued in a matter of days.

Jeremy Radcliffe is one of many frustrated by Dallas’ building permit backlog. He and his wife are building a green home in East Dallas. But the plans were among the hundreds caught up in the city’s building permit backlog.

“Anytime you add on time, two months is a lifetime when you are trying to build a new home,” he said.

Dallas city council members have been getting a daily earful from people who are waiting sometimes as long as three months for a building permit that used to only take days to receive.

Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Adam McGough said other cities are not facing delays despite the pandemic.       

“After getting the same complaints so many times, it is embarrassing,” he said. “I'm getting the same comments. It takes a few days in Richardson and Garland. In Dallas, it takes six to eight weeks.”

Even Dallas City Councilman Chad West said he had his own tale of two cities.

“I did two tunnel car wash projects: one in Cedar Hill and one in Dallas. I filed within the same week of each other in 2019. I have been open in Cedar Hill since Feb. 2019. I have yet to open in Dallas.”

Phil Crone, executive officer of the Dallas Builder's Association, says even homes damaged by the tornado in October have faced unnecessary permitting delays.

“Homeowners can't understand why it takes more than 100 days to get a permit. They have a loan out with the bank. It is accumulating interest,” he said. “Time is money.”

Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax pledged to make progress.

“Hopefully, we can improve the process. We don't want to create the unrealistic expectation that we will solve something that’s been a problem since before the pandemic overnight.”