Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Request a Permit Through Our Self-Service Portal

The City understands the importance of customer service and wants the community to have access to request a permit and request inspections online, from the comfort of their home.

EnerGov Customer Self-Service is a multi-faceted site used for permitting and scheduling inspections. The site allows customers to pay fees, check inspection results, apply for all building permits and upload plans.

The site also allows customers to request an inspection on an existing record, review a map of ongoing activity in their neighborhood and search public records on existing permits, plans, inspections, code cases and more.

Customers can access the site 24/7 to retrieve information or handle business right from the comfort of their own home.

If you need assistance in signing up or navigating the system, step-by-step instructions are available on the Online Permitting and Inspections webpage.

For more information about the EnerGov Customer Self-Service website, contact Planning and Development Services Building and Inspections Division online or call 817-748-8236.

Meet World Class Employee Seantay Carpenter

As you drive through Southlake, you may notice signs about events, projects and upcoming meetings posted throughout the City.

The person responsible for those public notifications is Seantay Carpenter.

Carpenter is the landscape and zoning inspector for Planning and Development Services, where he assists developers, contractors and the general public with zoning, signage and code compliance.

He also performs zoning, landscaping and tree preservation inspections.

With customer service and serving a world class community being one of the City’s many top priorities, Carpenter has always been known for his friendly interactions with customers and staff members.

Recently, he assisted the Economic Development and Tourism Department in delivering PPE packages and a Safe Pledge Kit to businesses that signed up for Southlake Safe.

In 2017, he received the City’s Kristin Pitzinger Customer Service Award for his ability to provide exceptional customer service.

“One of the best parts about my job is having the chance to interact with internal and external customers,” Carpenter said. “I get to collaborate with other City departments and work with outside clients.”

He has been employed by the City for over nine years and is looking forward to more years to come.

“Working for the City of Southlake has allowed me to change and grow in my professional career while being able to learn and develop new skills,” he said. “It’s a great place to work and meet new people. Southlake feels like home.”

If you happen to see or work with Carpenter, the latest anime films and video games are a great conversation starter.

Let’s Talk Residential Accessory Dwellings

Residential Accessory dwellings are smaller, independent residential dwelling units that can either be part of the primary residences or a completely separate smaller residential structure located on the same lot as a primary residence.  Residential accessory dwellings units go by many different names including granny/mother-in-law units, secondary suites, backyard cottages, multigenerational homes and a home within a home. In Southlake, the Zoning Ordinance defines residential accessory dwelling units as domestic employee quarters or family living quarters.

Some types of residential accessory dwelling units in Southlake are considered an “accessory use” and can be approved administratively by the City staff if located in certain residential zoning districts. Examples are units attached to or within the principal residential dwelling or units located and part of a detached residential garage.

Other residential accessory dwelling units that are completely separate or detached from the main residential structure require a “special exception use” (SEU) that must be approved by the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA). The ZBA is made of citizens appointed by the City Council and the board has authority per the zoning ordinance to approve a SEU to allow a detached accessory dwelling unit. The board holds a public hearing in the City Council Chambers at Town Hall when considering SEU applications.

Accessory dwelling units cannot be rented out and must be occupied by a person or persons employed on the premise or by a family member of the owner of the premises.

Specific regulations on residential accessory dwelling units can be found in sections 34.2 and 44.12 of the zoning ordinance.

If you would like to apply, application information, fees and submittal schedules are available online.

Applications for residential family/domestic employee quarters and Zoning Board of Adjustment Special Exception Use can be found below:
Residential Family/Domestic Employee Quarters Application
Zoning Board of Adjustment Special Exception Use Application  

For more information, please call Planning and Development Services at 817-748-8621 or fill out the contact form online and a staff member will get back to you within 48 hours.

Senior Planning Director and Assistant Police Chief Honored for their Work

Assistant Police Chief Ashleigh Casey and Senior Planning and Building Services Director Ken Baker were recently honored by their City of Southlake colleagues as Deputy Director of the Year and Outstanding Strategic Performer of the year, respectively.

“Ashleigh and Ken reached for and achieved excellence in their departments,” said City Manager Shana Yelverton. “2020 certainly didn’t turn out the way we had planned, but even with all of the challenges, I am so proud of how they worked with the community, the City Council, and city employees to keep the City moving forward during one of the most demanding years in memory.”

Chief Casey has been with the department since 2000 and was named Assistant Police Chief in 2015.  She has a Master’s degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Texas in Arlington and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy.

Baker has been with the City since 1999. He was named Senior Director of Planning and Building Services in 2013. He has a Master’s degree in Geography with an emphasis in City Planning from Western Kentucky University.

Common Southlake Code Enforcement Violations

Code enforcement plays a major role in the Southlake community to enhance the quality of life and is designed to keep citizens safe.

It also helps prevent an abundance of unsightly areas and unstable which could put others at risk for injury or property damage.

To ensure that codes are being followed, the City wants to help you understand common violations to prevent problems before they start. Together, we can ensure that Southlake remains a beautiful and safe community for everyone to enjoy.

 

 

Tall weeds and grass – High grass and weeds may not exceed 12 inches.

Parking on grass is not permitted – All parking must be done on an approved surface.

Trash and debris – All trash and debris on properties must be removed.

Oversized vehicles – Oversized vehicles must be parked on an approved surface behind the dwelling unless loading or unloading.

Fence Repairs – All fences must be free standing structures with no missing pieces.

Junk vehicles – Junk vehicles must be behind a screen or in working and have current registration and no flat tires.

 

Information concerning short term rentals, garage sales, water restrictions and other ordinances can be found on our Code Enforcement website.

For questions or concerns about code requirements and compliance, please call us at 817-748-8331 or visit our website at CityofSouthlake/Code-Enforcement.

What is the Zoning District for this Property?

The protection of the community’s health, safety and welfare is a top priority for the City of Southlake Planning and Development Services, which is why enforcing zoning is so important.

Assuring that zoning requirements are met not only protects property owners but contributes to Southlake being the ideal place to live, work and play.

Zoning ensures that land use patterns are compatible with one another, minimizes conflicts between the uses, protects property values and enhances the urban environment. Whether a structure/district is being added or removed, it must adhere to the zoning requirements.

Zoning districts define which uses are allowed on certain parcels of land, as well as other characteristics such as building height, density and setbacks.

When it comes to commercial, residential and recreational developments, zoning requirements differ depending on the community. In Southlake, PDS staff works with property owners, residents and other City departments, as well as elected and appointed officials to develop and implement plans to address current and future growth and changing City dynamics.

If you have questions or concerns about zoning, the City offers online resources for customers to determine the zoning district for a property using an Interactive Zoning Map, which displays parcel lines, aerials, zoning, land use designations, floodplains, floodways, SPIN boundaries and more. This map is located on the sidebar of Planning and Zoning webpage.

Once you click on the maps tab, scroll down to the Interactive Zoning Map thumbnail. You will be routed to the interactive zoning map where you will find color coordinated labels of the areas you are seeking such as commercial, residential and mixed zoning. The map is user friendly and highly detailed.

If you have further questions about zoning, please contact the Planning and Development Services.

What is Code Enforcement?

As part of the City of Southlake Planning and Development Services Department, Code Enforcement helps residents and businesses comply with code requirements through education and communication. 

Code Enforcements helps property owners understand the City’s ordinances while also responding to potential issues. This helps us keep Southlake safe and maintain our quality infrastructure. 

Watch this video for more information. 

What is Code Enforcement?

As part of the City of Southlake Planning and Development Services Department, Code Enforcement helps residents and businesses comply with code requirements through education and communication. This helps us keep Southlake safe and maintain our quality infrastructure. #PlanningMakesPerfect #SouthlakeStandard

Posted by City of Southlake, TX – Government on Thursday, September 17, 2020

 

Have questions about Code Enforcement? Visit www.CityofSouthlake.com/CodeEnforcement 

Planning Balances Safety and Simplicity with Virtual Inspections

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.  

The City’s Online Permitting and Inspection System “EnerGov” is Getting an Upgrade!

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.