The Dallas building permit crunch reached a new level Monday when Mayor Eric Johnson stepped into a problem that City Manager TC Broadcasting hadn’t fixed.
Johnson said delays in obtaining permits are driving up costs and driving away businesses.
He announced a new working group to investigate and resolve delays that have been the subject of complaints from builders and contractors for years.
Johnson told Broadnax and the rest of the city council about the new approach in a letter on Monday.
“We are sick of the excuses and tired of hearing that we need to give this more time. Time is up,” Johnson said.
The mayor has appointed Dallas City Council member Paula Blackmon to lead the working group.
“We have now seen how it prevents Dallas from growing and thriving at a time when we need residential and commercial development, especially in the southern part of our city,” Blackmon said.
Some homebuilders said they have moved their work to the suburbs where permits are issued faster.
“You can’t have affordable housing by making construction more expensive, and when you delay permits, you make building more expensive and housing less expensive,” said Phil Crone, executive director of the Dallas Builders Association.
The Dallas problem has received staff attention in the past, but it still persists.
“We need all hands on deck to solve the problem. On the other hand, it feels like 245The tenth Repeat team work to solve the problem. But, I hope this time it will be the last task force to finally get the job done.”
Blackmon said this new approach would aim to make the work happen.
“Hopefully, this really brings an extra layer to going forward and showing the urgency that we want,” Blackmon said.
In October, Dallas City Council members received results from a Toyota Consulting review of the building department’s phone center. Counselors found that most callers waited at least 15 minutes for a signal before answering calls. The flow chart illustrates the inefficiency in a call center.
On January 31, an executive brought in last year to solve problems at another city council meeting said progress had been made. But construction workers queued for a public hearing that day to once again complain about the ongoing delays.
Home Builders Association leader Kron reiterated again on Monday that the problems have not gone away.
“It has been very costly for a very long time for our members and for those trying to house the city,” Crone said.
Mayor Johnson said Dallas should call for new residents and builders they want to serve. He said that resources had been made available, but that progress had been very slow.
“We can’t continue down this path where we are not only making progress, we are falling behind,” Johnson said.
Fixing the permit issue was a Dallas City Council priority for City Manager TC Broadnax.
The director and other City Council appointees receive a City Council performance review on Wednesday.