Residents have a vision for the community they live in. Together, the City of Southlake, residents and businesses can create the best possible Southlake.  

To do this, it requires the implementation of plans and processes that undergo rigorous examination. We need your help in reviewing potential development projects. 

The Southlake Program for the Involvement of Neighborhoods was created in 1993 as a forum of open communication, typically between Southlake residents and applicants with development proposals. Occasionally, the City of Southlake will bring proposals through SPIN, like when the City proposes improvements to a City facility or park. 

SPIN is a first step in the development process. Sometimes items presented during SPIN are still in the concept phase. Though it’s not a required step, City staff encourages developers to present their ideas during SPIN meetings. 

During SPIN meetings, votes are NOT taken. The discussion is purely a learning experience for everyone involved. 

When a developer comes up with a project idea, they are able to present it during a SPIN meeting with an approximate timeline to start the conversation with the community. In many cases, this happens before a developer submits any formal project plans to the City. 

In 2019 alone, there were 39 different ideas presented during SPIN meetings. Many concepts went on to receive final approval and some chose not to continue the development process. 

SPIN is an opportunity for developers and residents to exchange information. Developers gain an understanding for how residents feel about their project and residents can hear ideas and provide feedback early in the development process. 

With the assistance of residents, the City of Southlake can enhance the quality of life for the entire community and achieve the high standards we’ve set for ourselves. 

Interested in attending the next SPIN meeting? It’s scheduled for Tuesday, July 28, 2020 and will be held virtually. Click here to see what's on the agenda and learn how to watch or participate.

For future meetings, subscribe to the SPIN calendar on the City’s website (“Notify Me”) to be notified when an agenda is posted. 

Watch for announcements on when SPIN meetings are held by following the City of Southlake Facebook pagechecking the calendar on the City of Southlake website or registering to receive SPIN notifications through Alert Southlake. 

Learn more about SPIN here. 

In March 2020, life as a whole seemed to shut down. While some simply picked up their laptop and continued their jobs in yoga pants on their couch, others set to rethink their work in the age of mask wearing and social distancing.

Before City of Southlake employees transitioned to working from home, the building inspectors of the Planning and Development Services Department met virtually to come up with a plan to continue to provide building inspection services in a safe manner throughout the stay at home order.

“Our inspectors stepped up to the challenge and developed a plan to allow building inspections services to continue in a manner that was safe for the both customer and inspector, while still continuing to maintain our high standards of excellence,” Senior Director of Planning and Development Services Ken Baker said. “They proactively created and implemented a plan and worked together as a team to go above and beyond for our residents and businesses during a very challenging time. The building inspectors continued providing the inspection service uninterrupted throughout this very challenging time and I’m very proud to have each and every one of them as part of the Planning and Development Services team.”

So how did the City plan to continue inspections and maintain newly implemented social distancing guidelines?

“Inspections weren’t going to stop. We came up with solutions so that we could keep residents and ourselves safe and maintain our quality services,” Building Inspector Ernie Aguilar said. “Homeowners appreciated our efforts.”

A virtual process was created for certain types of inspections such as those for water heaters, roofs and HVAC systems. The virtual inspections process allows photos and videos to be submitted to the City in lieu of an inspector physically visiting a home or site to perform the inspection. This results in eliminating the social interaction between the customer and inspector. Other benefits of the virtual inspection is now the homeowner or contractor does not have to stay at home or on the site and wait to meet the inspector. This virtual process also allows the City to improve efficiency and save money by reducing travel time and cost.

The City also created safety protocols for on-site building inspections. This included making sure the building inspector was equipped and wore appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when conducting inspections and that all homeowners and contractors social distanced from the inspector while on site or in the home.

“Our residents and contractors have been very understanding and respectful of the safety and social distancing protocols we have put in place and for that we are very appreciative,” Baker said.

“Any time we had concerns, they were addressed. The City made sure we had the tools to get our jobs done,” Building Inspector Charlie Wright said. “We always had access to PPE and COVID-19 testing if we needed it.”

Access to masks and protective gear was imperative since inspectors would still be required to enter multiple homes and businesses per day for more complex inspections.

"Our supervisors made themselves available anytime we needed them. I felt like this was a team effort,” Aguilar said.

Through our City of Southlake values of Teamwork, Innovation and Commitment to Excellence, our building inspectors were able to achieve the high standards we set for ourselves as employees and meet the expectations of those who live, work and play in Southlake.

“I’ve only worked for the City of Southlake for four months, and it’s evident why there is very little turnover,” Wright said. “Southlake writes the manual every day for what working for a City should be.”

Learn more about the City of Southlake inspection process here.  

On Thursday, June 25, the City of Southlake Planning and Development Services (PDS) Department will upgrade their online permitting and inspections system called EnerGov, which is specifically designed to automate and centrally connect critical processes, including permitting, planning, inspections, code enforcement, engineering and more. Currently, customers can apply for permits, pay fees and schedule inspections all online.

Click here to connect to the online portal.

The upgrade allows external users to access more information about their specific permits and plans and simplifies the application and registration process. In addition, the upgrade provides a ‘Forgot your Username?’ feature and fixes previous software bugs.

To ensure EnerGov continues to provide simple and streamlined processes for customers, the PDS Department plans to continue upgrading the software to enhance the eReview capability and to allow external users to apply for professional licenses online.

“The upgrade allows the customer to do more from home or the office related to permit and plan applications and eliminate the need for customers to come to Town Hall to conduct business,” Ken Baker, Director of Planning and Development said. “Optimizing this system is key to providing quality customer service by making the permit application process simple.”

The EnerGov system is scheduled to be offline from 12 p.m. - 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 25 to allow for the upgrade and post implementation testing.

Learn more about EnerGov here. For questions about EnerGov or how it functions, please contact the PDS - Building Inspections Division at 817-748-8236 or 817-748-8237.

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