Shakeup in Dallas building permit office after backlogs continue

FOX 4 obtained a city of Dallas memo that shows a staffing shake-up in the city’s building permit office.

After months of reports about continual backlogs, the director is being re-assigned and two other leaders announced their retirements.

The now-former head of sustainable development and construction is being transferred to the city's aviation department. The city's chief of economic development will serve as the interim director.

Joshua Correa is one of countless builders in Dallas whose hands have been tied from creating one of the very things Dallas needs most -- new homes and tax dollars. 

"Weeks turned out to be months," he said.

Correa was delayed from starting construction on his two West Dallas homes from November until May.

"In the past before COVID, we could get a permit within a few hours, one or two days max. This took six months," Correa said.

Correa estimates the delay cost him another $100,000 to build the home, due to the cost of maintaining the land, interest, and skyrocketing lumber costs. It all means an extra $800 a month to the average home buyer. 

"I want to do all my business in the city of Dallas, but yet I go to two other cities, and their building permit process is very easy. One city in a week, the other three weeks," Correa said.

In February city leaders promised to get the backlog under control. But Phil Crone, executive officer of the Dallas Builder's Association, says the problem has only gotten worse. 

"I don't see an overall plan from city staff. Are we just re-arranging the deck chairs on the sinking ship?" Crone said.

Dallas city councilman Chad West said Thursday that the solution is privatization. 

"What we are doing now is not working, tweaks made have not worked. I believe third party system public-private partnership is the way to go," West said.

Crone says a third party would bring accountability. 

"One contracted company says they could clear the backlog in two to three weeks. If they did not do that, the mayor and council could go with someone else," Crone said.

West hopes to make the changes during this year's budget talks and he says there is no more time left to lose. 

"I hear every day from contractors, builders, affordable homes, apartments, or people just want a fence. Frustration is epic," West said.


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