Austin facing another building permit backlog


by ASHLEY GOUDEAU / KVUE News and Photojournalists JOHN FISHER

Bio | Email | Follow: @AshleyG_KVUE

Posted on October 2, 2013 at 5:26 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 2 at 5:42 PM

AUSTIN -- Austin's Planning and Development Review Department is facing another permit backlog, this time for commercial development.

This past February there was a backlog dating back to November 2012 for residential permits. Department officials said it was because of a shortage in staff. Those positions have since been filled, and wait times are back to normal.

However on the other side of the permitting office, commercial reviewers have large piles of applications to go through.

Reviewers are running four to five weeks behind schedule. Officials say the number of applications has increased by 25 percent compared to last year, and that's on top of a spike in applications this past August.

"There were some codes that were being changed or updated this September, and so we had quite an influx of people turning plans in under the old codes before the new codes came into effect," explained City of Austin Planning and Development Review Assistant Director Donald Birkner.

Officials say some developers even turned in incomplete applications, knowing that rejected applications can be resubmitted and grandfathered in under the old codes.

The new city building permit codes went into effect Sept. 17.

Birkner says the backlog should ease soon because the department will now fast-track applications five days a week instead of just one.

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