City Manager T.C. Broadnax briefed Council this week on how he plans to finally fix Dallas’ broken permitting process, which has been in various stages of disarray for over two years. Residential builders say it’s still taking eight to 10 weeks to get needed approvals. Phil Crone, the president of the Dallas Builders Association, says that every other city in North Texas processes those same permits in two to three weeks.
Commercial developers are harder to pin down because of the variety of their projects, but Linda McMahon, the head of the The Real Estate Council, says she receives “a daily barrage of emails” from brokers and smaller developers who can’t figure out why their permits aren’t moving quicker.
Broadnax’s presentation on Wednesday was supposed to bring clarity on what is to come. And he did present a plan. But that solution contained no metrics by which to gauge success. It is still not clear what the city believes is an appropriate amount of time for processing commercial and residential permits so builders can get to work.
Broadnax also argued that the issue had been overblown by the media and the development community. He says people now approach him at parties to ask when the permitting problem is going to be fixed—something that used to be an in-house complaint among the developer community has now gone public. “That’s not a good party feeling,” he said.
The city manager estimated that processing times would be back to normal—“the good old bad days,” as he called it, which came accompanied with no numbers or timeline to define what those “gold old bad days” really entailed—early next year. In the conversations I’ve had with builders, consultants, and council members, they took his attitude like this: little to see here, we’re on top of it, and why are we even talking about this?
Why are we talking about this? Here is an anecdote from one homeowner I spoke to.