A typical walk through the Southlake Planning Department greets you with walls and desks full of numbers, maps, graphs, and dedicated public servants who each play a key role in ensuring building safety every day in Southlake.

With May being building safety month, it’s important to brush up on key elements that can protect the safety of you, your family, and your home. Having functional smoke alarms, ensuring your pools have proper barriers and drains, and keeping electrical plugs away from wet areas are all things you can do to bring safety into your home – but do you know all the ways that the Southlake Planning Department has already ensured your building’s safety?

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail – it’s a saying the Planning and Development Department understands perfectly. That’s why they are dedicated to intentionally creating comprehensive procedures to uphold the present and future integrity of Southlake Safety.

Deputy Building Official Charles Wright on a worksite

Wright, who was recently promoted from Building Inspector to his current position of overseeing field operations, building codes, and ordinance enforcement, believes that intentional and proactive planning is the key to continued safety.  Although some might see building codes and ordinances as red tape, it’s actually the result of Wright and his team double and triple checking that Southlake citizens are continually kept safe. 

This overarching commitment to safety takes a team of dedicated professionals with a keen eye for detail. From City Planners to Code Enforcement Officers, the department covers business safety from many different angles. These considerations protect people in ways they might not even be aware of in everyday life such as the placement of electrical wiring, future expansions, and the safety of future owners. Proper planning also provides first responders a fighting chance of protecting property and lives. This is why Planning Department employees are sometimes referred to as “First Preventers."

"It’s hard to describe the depth and various angles of safety we consider regarding Southlake’s structures and the people that are going to use them,” Wright explained. “We’re constantly looking for ways we can facilitate a safer city and are always improving to serve the best we can.”

In his new role, Wright is looking forward to fine-tuning more consistent code processes and equipping his team with ample opportunities for in-depth training to ensure continued excellence and enhanced customer service experience for all interactions.

Thanks to the diligent work of people like Charles Wright and his team, Southlake continues to be a safe place to live, work, and thrive. Your safety is built on their dedication – one plan, and one detail at a time.

To learn more about Building Safety Month and how you can ensure safety in your own home, visit the International Code Council website.

Are you planning a new home project? If so, you may need a permit.

A permit ensures that inspections are completed and the building or project is compliant with code requirements and meets safety standards.

Permits are mandatory when remodeling or on updates that require a licensed trade such as electrical work, plumbing or anything with a structural component such as moving walls.

The most common permits are for the construction of a building such as a patio cover, gazebo, carport or installing a swimming pool.  Permits for window replacement and sport courts are also common.

If you're looking to add or replace a water heater, than you will need a plumbing permit.  To change out a heating or an air conditioning system,  you would need a mechanical permit.

If you are still unsure about whether or not you need a permit, visit the City of Southlake Building Inspections and Code Enforcement webpage or the Residential Construction webpage.  You can also email Building Inspections and Code Enforcement or call 817-748-8236.

Ready to request a permit? Apply through our online permit and inspections portal.

City Council approved new and existing temporary regulations and activities for Southlake businesses during the October 6 City Council meeting.

The City understands that businesses have been severely impacted by COVID-19 and has suspended enforcement of sign codes, parking, landscaping and outdoor and patio activity regulations to help businesses succeed and continue to provide a safe environment for the public.

With social distancing guidelines still in place, the City allowed businesses to post tents, trailers and trucks outside to sell merchandise and offer food pickup. Regulations to provide vaccination or testing related services by medical and health professionals outside of the normal office or clinic settings were also approved.

Ratifications of new regulations to Institutions such as schools, churches and government facilities will also go into effect to allow organizations to set up temporary structures or tents in order to conduct business or activities outdoors as long as they meet all zoning, building and fire regulations.

Gyms, fitness studios or any facility that is associated with instructional classes will also be allowed to conduct sessions outside the building as long it is on the same property as the facility.

Any tenant utilizing temporary signage regulations will need approval by the owner or property management company.

All changes will be in place until January 5, 2021.

To view the lists temporary regulations click here. For questions please contact the City of Southlake Planning and Development Services Department.

October is Community Planning Month! In celebration with our Planning and Development Services Department, we’re recognizing the importance of comprehensive planning and community-focused initiatives that enhance the spaces where people work, live, and play.

This year’s theme is ‘Planning is Essential to Recovery,’ which focuses on how planning can lead communities to equitable, resilient and long-lasting recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Planning and Development Services Department is “business as usual” when it comes to planning for the Southlake community by providing residents and business access to the services we provide in a safe manner. Residents and businesses can access the EnerGov Customer Self Service portal to request building inspections or permits and to submit plans. Planning applications can also be submitted online. We’ve transitioned to virtual inspections for items such as water heaters, roofs and HVAC units.

For a short period of time, SPIN and Planning & Zoning Commission meetings were held virtually to ensure the safety of staff, elected officials, residents, and developers/contractors who wanted to attend. We are now holding all Planning & Zoning Commission meetings in person with heightened protocols, such as providing hand sanitizer, blocking off seating for social distancing purposes, and requiring masks during meetings, to continue our efforts in upholding a commitment to safety and health during this time. SPIN meetings will still be held virtually for the time being.

Businesses in Town Square can now have an individualized look thanks to recent ordinances passed by City Council over the summer.

The modifications to the ordinances allow for greater flexibility for the provision of signage, administrative approval of storefront façade designs, and relieves some restrictions on the use of branding colors.

Town Square has always played a pivotal role in Southlake by serving as the heart of the community with retail, office and hotels which is highly critical for the community economically in terms of attracting visitors and other business opportunities.

The City has made recent modifications to the Town Square sign ordinance and Downtown “DT” zoning ordinance to create flexibility and efficiency in the provision of signage, store front designs and lighting with the intent to create an ordinance that streamlined the review and approval process.

The modifications to the ordinances will increase the variety and diversity in signage types to address new trends in retail while remaining complementary to building designs, the urban pedestrian-oriented environment and further placemaking efforts that may occur in the near future.

For more information on this ordinance, please contact the City of Southlake Planning and Development Services.

Explorer Pipeline Company will be constructing a new fuel storage facility on a 16 acre property located in the southeast portion of the City addressed as 2200 Mustang Ct., Southlake, Texas. The location of the new fuel storage tank will be south of the E. Continental Boulevard and Crooked Lane roadway intersection and within the existing Southlake fuel farm.

In 1992, City Council approved a Specific Use Permit and Site Plan for Explorer Pipeline to allow the location of petroleum operations on this property. The approval of the site plan allowed two (2) existing fuel storage tanks to remain in place at this location and permitted the construction of (4) new storage tanks. This is the first fuel storage tank that Explorer Pipeline has constructed since the 1992 approval. In addition to this new fuel storage tank, Energy Pipeline has the right to construct 3 additional new tanks at this location. However, at this time there are no plans to construct any additional tanks beyond the single new tank being installed.

 

The construction of the new tank will result in the removal of the tree cover in this general vicinity. “The 1992 Specific Use Permit and Site Plan approval took place before adoption of the City’s first Tree Preservation Ordinance,” Senior Director of Planning and Development Ken Baker said. “Therefore the 1992 site plan approval was not subject to the tree preservation standards or requirements that are in place today.”

Currently, the City is reviewing the technical building plans for the fuel storage facility and it is expected that the plans will be approved soon by the City and construction may begin as soon as this summer. Any road closures or traffic delays due to construction related traffic will be announced on Southlake Mobility.

For the 22nd straight year, the City of Southlake has been named a Tree City USA Community.  The award recognizes urban forestry management excellence.

The honor is given by The Arbor Day Foundation, which recently recertified the City as a designated 2019 Tree City USA community.

Tree City USA is a program that’s been greening up cities and towns across America since 1976. This program helps provide a framework for communities to manage and expand their public trees footprint, while also celebrating the importance of an urban tree canopy and raising awareness of improving care for these vital trees.

To qualify for Tree City USA status, a community must meet four core standards of sound urban forestry management:

  1. Maintaining a tree board or department;
  2. Establishing a community tree ordinance;
  3. Spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry;
  4. Celebrating Arbor Day through a proclamation or observance

“The City takes great pride in being recertified as a 2019 Tree City USA community,” said Senior Director of Planning and Development Services Ken Baker. “This designation allows our department to proudly promote the value of public trees and upholding sustainable tree management.”

To learn more about Tree City USA, visit the Arbor Day Foundation’s website. For more information about Southlake’s efforts in urban forestry management, please visit the Planning and Development Services website or give us a call at 817-748-8621.

Every year the City of Southlake Planning and Development Services Department creates and publishes an annual report to present along with the City’s budget. The report was recently published online and provides a small glimpse into the daily activities of the department during fiscal year 2019 to help tell Southlake’s development story.

“Our department strives to provide quality standards in the services we offer and exceptional customer service to stimulate growth and development in Southlake," City of Southlake Senior Director of Planning and Development Services Ken Baker said. “That is why the annual development report is so important. It fosters transparency efforts that keep us accountable in promoting quality development and economic wellness in our City.”

View the FY 2019 Annual Development Report here.

The Annual Development Report is comprised of seven sections: Southlake Snapshot, Economic Overview, Understanding Development, New Residential Development, New Commercial Development, Valuation and Revenue.

The report includes:

Southlake At-A-Glance – In this section, residents and visitors can get a glimpse of Southlake’s public profile by reviewing the population size, percentage of land developed, number of square miles and financial valuation.

Economic Overview – This section displays data pertaining to the amount of consumer sales generated, the number of businesses in Southlake, office and retail space overview, the real estate market and other information that helps determine the state of the economy.

Understanding Development  This section shows a step-by-step overview of the development process and how to conduct development business in Southlake. It displays an overview of our 2035 Comprehensive Plan, which includes master plan elements that provide a vision for Southlake’s future. This section also provides information about the department’s organizational structure and the many services offered. New to this section is an overview of the numerous boards, commissions and committees the Planning and Development Services Department works with. Lastly, this section provides updates on current residential and commercial construction projects within the city.

New Residential Development – This section is new to the report this year. Within this section, you’ll find graphs and charts depicting information on new residential permit values, square footage permitted and permit fees collected. The data is collected throughout the fiscal year and is displayed against previous fiscal year data to show ongoing trends for development in the city.

New Commercial Development – This section is new to the report this year. Within this section you’ll find graphs and charts depicting information on new commercial permit values, square footage permitted, and permit fees collected. The data is collected throughout the fiscal year and is displayed against previous fiscal year data to show ongoing trends for development in the city.

Valuation – This section displays graphs and charts with valuation information for the City in fiscal year 2019. The data presented includes the amount of residential and commercial valuation added, the total residential and non-residential valuation and a comparison of the total assessed value and taxable value.

Revenue –This section displays graphs and charts of revenue collected by the City in fiscal year 2019. The data presented includes the amount of property tax, sales tax and franchise tax collected for the general fund, hotel occupancy tax collected, sign permit fees collected and total fees from building permits collected.

To learn more about the FY 2019 Annual Development Report or view the document, please visit our annual development report web page or give us a call at 817-748-8621.

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