Table of Contents
Strengths, Weaknesses, and 10 Key Recommendations
Exhibit A: Developers Survey Summary
Exhibit B: City of Fort Worth Org Chart
Exhibit C: City of Fort Worth
Development Process - Special Analysis
Exhibit D: Expectations for Development Services and Partner Departments
The Real Estate Council of Greater Fort Worth (REC) represents over 550 members, all of whom are commercial developers or professionals supporting commercial development in Fort Worth and Tarrant County. The REC governing board currently involves participation from the Arlington and Fort Worth city managers, the Tarrant County Administrator, and currently, one Fort Worth Assistant City Manager and a former Fort Worth Mayor.
Real Estate Council History
Since its inception 17 years ago, the REC has constructively worked with the City of Fort Worth, on items impacting the commercial development profession. The REC leadership has instilled a culture of respectful staff engagement, with advocacy driven by fact, data, and city staff input. Leaders and members of REC serve or have served on key local government committees and boards including Trinity Metro, Development Advisory Committee and the Blue-Ribbon Committee on Road and Street Maintenance to name just a few.
A Proven History of Working with Staff to Improve Development in Fort Worth
In pursuit of a better development process, REC hosts monthly Government Affairs meetings with both members and city staff. Important issues and relevant statistics regarding development are discussed and feedback shared from both sides throughout REC’s history, countless development improvements have been devised, implemented, and measured through this collaborative process and continuous feedback between the profession and city staff. One such recent example is significant improvements to successful Certificate of Occupancy completions. Issues arising during Covid, saw failure rates topping 20%. Thanks to collaboration on a few key areas, failure rates are now trending lower than ever including prior to Covid.
This is just one recent example of countless official and unofficial task forces, committees, working groups and other efforts REC has devoted resources to make developing in Fort Worth better for both customer and city staff. Without question there have been many improvements in many areas and broadly the data supports that development overall is improving in Fort Worth.
However, challenges both new and old merit focus and resources if Fort Worth desires to remain a competitive option on where developers chose to risk their capital through sustainable development. Throughout the fall of 2022, the REC endeavored to work with staff and customers to identify specific areas in need of most attention and the potential magnitude of economic impact if the current trajectory of improvement were reversed.
Real Estate Council Development Professional Survey
For the first time since 2019 (Pre-COVID Pandemic), REC surveyed development professionals regarding the entire Fort Worth development process. A wide range of respondents provided data point answers as well as written first-hand observations and experiences.
I. Org Chart of Nine City Departments Responsible for Fort Worth Development Process
II. Highland Tax Study
The results above were examined with an overlay of the organizational structure of the nine separate city departments that control the development functions a developer will potentially encounter. This chart was created by city staff at the urging of REC to map out what departments control what development functions.
REC also commissioned a third-party firm to analyze city data to determine the possible dollar impact on city finances from delayed and deferred development in terms of fee revenue, tax revenue and lost economic activity due to inefficiencies in the city development process.
I. Real Estate Council Development Professional Survey
The development survey was open to invited development professionals throughout Fort Worth and the greater Fort Worth area. (Exhibit A). Key feedback from city staff was to focus on respondents with significant experience both inside and outside Fort Worth and those familiar with the entirety of the development process. This highlighted those with the necessary perspective to make informed comment on Fort Worth relative to its competition and identify problem areas in the overall development process.
The online survey was conducted during the months of September and October 2022.
Respondents are those in commercial development and related consulting (24%), construction (23%), design (31%) and other related commercial developmentrelated professions (22%).
Eighty-one percent (81%) of respondents have been involved in three or more development projects in Fort Worth during the most recent 24-months and 74% of respondents have been involved in five or more development projects during the most recent 24-months.
When asked which development-related department has improved most in recent 24-months 82% of development professionals answered the Development Services Department.
When asked if interdepartmental cooperation across all development departments has improved, 68% answered no, or no and getting worse.
Section I Recommendations
Expand the overwhelmingly positive trajectory within the Development Services Department to all development related departments.
Instill a culture of problem solving across all departments and down to the customer interface level as is the norm in most cities.
Resolve city’s internal process conflicts between departments and remove the expectation that the customer will find a way to resolve them on their own.
II. Nine City Departments Responsible for Fort Worth Development Process
Often, the question is asked “Who is in charge of the commercial development process in Fort Worth?” It is often assumed that the answer is the Development Services Department. However, for virtually any significant development project in Fort Worth this is a highly incomplete assumption. In practice, nine (9) separate city departments are directly involved in the commercial development process:
The development functions in Fort Worth are highly decentralized, with the nine departments responsible for functions of the development process reporting to all five assistant city managers. (Exhibit B).
The issues created by the decentralized nature of the development process was acknowledged in a March 2020 memo from the City Manager’s Office addressing “Expectations for Development Services and Partner Departments”. The one-page memo asked all development departments to “Prioritize development review to meet or exceed service and timeframe expectations and share responsibility for team performance.” EXHIBIT D
Many common development process such as construction plan review (IPRC), zoning change, planning, building plans and others, require simultaneous multi-department reviews for a project to advance. Despite the March 2020 Expectations Memo, Development Services Department has limited or no influence on many critical development functions that can approve, delay or cancel a project. Therefore, today it is left with the customer to work with multiple departments simultaneously to facilitate required communication between the departments for their project to advance. At a minimum, the disconnected structure of the development functions leaves the experienced customer with an impression of a poorly organized city. Many new unfamiliar customers find themselves in a maze of bureaucracy incapable of generating resolutions
The survey data shows that Development Service Department’s improvement efforts over the last two years through numerous Business Process Improvements “BPI’s”, Lean/Six Sigma Process Improvements and many other efforts are bearing real fruit over the functions they oversee. However, the decentralized nature of the organization limits the effectiveness of these efforts.
Most concerning is this type of organization is leaving too many of the city’s brightest and hardest working employees burned out and disillusioned. Far too many of them have chosen to leave for other opportunities.
Based on Real Estate Council member feedback, further discussion of the Development Professional Survey highlighted earlier, and interaction with city staff through the Development Advisory Council, we respectfully offer the following recommendations, which we believe will drastically improve the development culture and atmosphere for both development customers and just as important, the city staff:
Section II Recommendations
The “Silos” need to finally come down and the “One Stop Shop” needs to finally happen. The city cannot continue to ask the customer to navigate these nine departments on their own. Unfortunately, the City Manager’s 2020 “Expectations Memo” has not been implemented. On that basis, we respectfully suggest that the next logical step take place. That is to place relevant partner department personnel responsible for commercial development under formal written operational control of the Development Services Department Director. These staff will need to maintain necessary ties to their partner department heads and access to their department’s resources. However, for daily operational control and workflow accountability they should be organized under Development Services. While this is a very significant request, it would bring Fort Worth into line with their competitors who offer customers a more straightforward process interfacing with a single development department.
Additionally, plan for these same employees who have development responsibilities to be on the same floor and in the nearest vicinity possible to the Development Services Department and to each other, in the new city hall.4. 5.
Schedule standing regular continuous improvement meetings with all staff involved in reviews workflows. Expand the proven third-party lean process improvements and BPI’s to include the larger multi-department reviews. This will serve not only to improve processes and bring accountability but will help all staff better understand how their roles and responsibilities affect the ability of their colleagues to solve problems as a team.
Invest in proven customer service training annually for all city personnel involved in the development process. Ordinances should be enforced not as brick wall, but as a problem to be corrected.
Semi-annually, the City Manager should host a two-hour forum attended by all development personnel at the City of Fort Worth and the commercial real estate community to discuss and resolve targeted items selected by the City Manager, the city Development Advisory Committee, and the Real Estate Council. Subsequent meetings should chart progress on the items resolved.
Invest Heavily in HR Retention efforts to ensure the highest performing staff are supported and promoted to create the next generation of leaders to promote the cultural shift towards problem solving. Provide more opportunities to advance within leaving existing departments. Employees should not have continuously move to other departments or leave the City to advance their careers. Years of knowledge and competency are continuously leaving departments to move internally or externally to other cities.
While not reflected in the City’s original Org Chart, REC felt it critical to point out the legal department controls many aspects of the contracts and agreements necessary to develop in Fort Worth. While previously consulted on nonstandard situations, they have now become thoroughly entrenched in the standard project workflow. Their mindset is one of extreme "what if" risk thinking and their practicality level is so low no private company could survive under their guidance. Significant resources should be invested in improving all aspects of their important input as the current process is too slow to be practical.
III. City of Fort Worth Financially Benefits from High-Performing Development Process
With a high-performing real estate development process, the financial benefits accrue year after year both to the real estate profession and to the City of Fort Worth. In 2021, Commercial Development added approximately $650 Million in appraised valued to Fort Worth’s portion of Tarrant County’s tax rolls. Allowing for a modest 3% appreciation, these projects represent $ $334,534,790.43 in tax revenue to the City Fort Worth over their IRS 39-year life.
In the fall of 2022, the Real Estate Council commissioned a financial impact analysis to estimate the financial impact of delayed or deferred projects in terms of fee revenue, tax revenue and lost economic activity due to potential inefficiencies (Exhibit C). The analysis performed by Highland Market Research, with input from City staff, examined Development Services Department statistics from January through September 2022, to conservatively estimate the financial implications of development delays.
While there are several findings in the analysis, we shall focus on three.
Section III Conclusions
Based on a 10-week development process delay impacting 19% of the projects in process (316), with an estimated total value of $496.7 million (based on average valuation for all commercial projects from January – September 2022), the City of Fort Worth realizes an estimated delay or deferral of $1.428 million over the 10-week period (see Addendum A, Table 10).
Using the same 10-week development process delay impacting 19% of the projects in process, the delayed or deferred development fees paid to the city is estimated at approximately $600,000 (see Addendum A, Table 12).
As interest rates climb and the time value of money widens, an efficient city real estate development process financially benefits our municipal government and the private sector. For both, time is money.
IV. Final Conclusions
The Real Estate Council of Greater Fort Worth appreciates the progress made by city officials, the Development Services Department, and the leadership of Assistant City Manager Dana Burghdoff and Department Director D.J. Harrell. The collective efforts at City Hall have led to process improvements in many areas and an overall upward trajectory as proven in the latest survey.
As previously stated, it is critically important to note the City of Fort Worth commercial development process is under the purview of 9 separate city departments. Eight other City departments are involved beyond Development Services. And when city department silos lead to a disjointed (at times highly disjointed) process, inefficiencies lead to delays that cost both the city and the private sector, time and money.
The Real Estate Council leadership has diligently listened, studied, and thoughtfully considered the eight recommendations set forth. We believe the recommendations should be aggressively pursued by City leaders at all levels, in 2023. Perfection is not our goal and is unrealistic. A high-performing City development process based on a culture of problem solving and resolving the city’s internal process conflicts between departments for the customer is achievable.
Real Estate Council of Greater Fort Worth
Summary of Survey Conducted on Commercial Development in the City of Fort Worth November 2022
Methodology and Respondents
• The online survey was conducted during the months of September and October 2022.
• Seventy-four (74) respondents completed the survey.
• Respondents are those in commercial development and related consulting (24%), construction (23%), design (31%) and other related commercial development-related professions (22%).
• Eighty-one percent (81%) of respondents have been involved in three or more development projects in Fort Worth during the most recent 24-months and 74% of respondents have been involved in five or more development projects during the most recent 24-months.
• In order to focus on the most informed respondents with wide perspectives, those respondents below were limited to those who were familiar with the entire development process , had completed 2 or more projects in Fort Worth and 1 or more projects outside of Fort Worth in the last 24 months.
o CLICK HERE FOR SURVEY DATA
NOTE: Filters discussed above are turned off by default and will not Reflect findings below
• The most challenging part of the development process in Fort Worth is infrastructure delivery (roads, water, sewer, storm drainage) 43%, followed by building development (permits, inspections) 23%.
o “There needs to be options to let competent private sector solutions meet this need. The legal trappings are awful. We just finished an IPRC Project Manual - Only took 9 months!.”
o “X Team and Project Facilitators are great to work with, but the ancillary departments that they interact with are much slower in response time.”
o “Every tenant is considered a change of use even if they are the same use and not remodeling. Landlords are asking me to "get out of having a C of O"
• The most challenging part of the entitlement portion of the development process in Fort Worth is platting 51.6%, followed by zoning/comprehensive plan 39.53%
o “Studies being required to be approved before processing plats kills schedule. Although the state passed a house bill about this, many cities have found ways to allow simultaneous review.”
o “ See Austin's Affordability Unlocked and Dallas's Density Bonus for examples. This will help reduce parking, excess paving, help reduce flooding, fights with neighborhoods NIMBY at Zoning and Council mtgs, and generally unclog the zoning system, all while helping the City with their affordable housing goal, for free.”
• The overall development process in Fort Worth is getting worse (52%), the same (24%) with some seeing the process getting better (24%).
o “Development Services is getting better, but other departments are getting worse.”
o “The process is lengthy due to what appears to be zero risk policy but they are at least trying to reduce that length in some aspects.”
o “No one has authority to make a decision.”
• In terms of improving the current City development staff, 54% of respondents believe efforts should be focused on promoting a culture of problem solving (when looking at just commercial development and related consulting respondents that rises to 70% ) and 40% of respondents believe efforts should be
focused on empowering staff to make decisions. Knowledgeability and Training was offered as a 3rd option and 0% chose this as an area to focus on.
o “If lower staff could be presented with a logical solution to a permit comment, zoning comment, et c. then middle and upper mgmt can have more time to train and work on overall policies (like affordable housing bonuses, etc.) that would reduce the overall burden on a larger scale. But now they have to reso lve one problem on one development at a time.”
o “General attitude is most developers are liars and burden of proof is to prove negatives constantly. This is because the few bad actors are caught red handed and get a slap on the wrist. No other cities oper ate this way.”
• Respondents were asked if interdepartmental cooperation across all city departments involved in the development process has improved. 68% answered no, or no and getting worse. 26% said yes, but more improvement needed, and 5% said yes.
o “Communication from Project Facilitator is the re, but there needs to be simpler systems for everyone at all levels to solve problems and prioritize as needed. ”
o “Some improvements have happened, but the "I don't work for Randall" has been replaced with "I don't work for DJ "
• When Asked if the X Team provided a good value 62% answered no.
o “People from the city missed the meeting. Very insulting to the tenant for an expensive meeting ”
o “Ann Nace was great to work with and helpful at all stages in coordinating permit approval. Greatly accelerates the permitting process and allows internal city staff to birddog other departments to obtain responses and clearances rather than the developers or their consultants ”
• When Asked if Obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy was a positive experience 61% answered no.
o “Every tenant is treated as a Change of Use. Landlords are asking me to "get out of having a C of O "
o “Mostly yes... There has been progress made but it still needs improvements and simplification. ”
• When asked which development-related department should receive the most improvement efforts, 43% of respondents said Water, 39% said Development Services, with the remainder mentioning various departments. When reviewing responses exclusively from development and related consulting professionals, 55% say Water, 9% say Development Services, 9% say TPW and 9% say Code/Health.
o “After weeks of emailing the Water Department for a response, I regularly feel terrible for having to email Chris Harder or DJ. It shouldn't be necessary but unfortunately is a regular oc currence. ”
o “Need to continue to try and streamline plan review. Burleson is a good example.”
• When asked which development-related department has improved most in recent 24 -months, 66% said Development Services with the remainder mentioning various departments. When reviewing responses exclusively from development and related consulting professionals, 82% said Development Services.
o “Development Services is doing a pretty good job. The other departments are the same or getting worse.”
o “I have seen Development Services trying to analyze its own processes which is great. ”
• When asked if there was another city that the respondent felt did an exceptionally good job that Fort Worth staff could study to improve their development process, the #1 response was San Antonio, TX followed by a 3 way tie between Arlington, Frisco and Houston.
o San Antonio -“They actually return calls and emails.”
o Arlington and Frisco -“Tough but predictable. Decision makers are accessible, and they are final.”
In wrapping up the survey, respondents were asked to identify one part of the development process in Fort Worth they would change and explain what and how they would do so. Most answers generally can be classified as
1) Expand the overwhelmingly positive trajectory within the Development Services Department to all development related departments.
2) Instill a culture of problem solving across all departments and down to the customer interface level as is the norm in most cities and
3) Resolve city’s internal process conflicts between departments and remove the expectation that the customer resolve them on their own:
o “The culture needs to be changed - the majority of staff have a negative attitude. The good ones are over worked and the slackers continue to slack - there are no consequences or rewards.”
o “Triple fees and use them to bonus the staff who get things done . ”
o “Once you get upper managers, dept directors involved, CFW staff does genuinely help push items through/brainstorm about code exceptions permitting, IPRC/CFA, etc.”
o “There is only one development process in the City of Fort Worth, and it doesn't work. Divide and conquer won't work because of the tremendous inter-relationship between departments. ”
o “I would streamline the process. Instead of having to submit 10 different things to 10 different people, it would be nice to have a dedicated person to coordinate the project on th e city side.”
o “Water, Fire, TPW and the other outside departments need to lead, follow or get out of the way. If they don't want to do their jobs related to development, move them under DJ or privatize those functions.”
City of Fort Worth Org Chart
City of Fort Worth Development ProcessSpecial Analysis
A Special Analysis conducted by Highland Market Research LLC
City of Fort Worth - Development Special Analysis
Prepared in August 2022 by: Highland Market Research, LLC
The Development Services Department within the City of Fort Worth is tasked with maintaining and managing some of the most complex functions within municipal government. Due to the nature of the projects, any delays in processing can result in substantial lost dollars through annual taxes, development fees and economic impact. Allocation of resources to the department for the purpose of increasing customer service, technology enhancements and ease of access will be quickly recovered through additional streams of revenue.
Fort Worth was the fastest growing large city between 2010 and 2020 and is now the 13 th largest city in the nation.
The Development Services Department employs 174 full-time positions responsible for fielding all development inquiries, including 40,000 walk-ins, 55,000 emails, and over 100,000 phone calls.
The population in the DFW Metroplex rose 8.5% from 2015 – 2020 meaning Fort Worth is competing with growth opportunities in other neighboring communities. Commercial and residential developers are seeking business friendly environments.
It is reasonable to assume that even ten weeks of delay on commercial development projects could result in a loss of over $496 million in project valuations.
The resulting loss could translate into lost/delayed taxes, economic impact, and fee revenue for the City of Fort Worth .
Methodology & Approach
The Development Services Department within the City of Fort Worth serves as the clearinghouse for the overwhelming majority of processes and corresponding oversight of all development happening within the city.
Coinciding with the end of the Covid-19 pandemic and the rapid population growth in the area, the Development Services Department has been challenged with maintaining a smooth flow of the development processes and minimizing delays that could result in lost forms of revenue to the city itself, developers, and the local economy.
In an attempt to better understand and conservatively estimate the financial implications of development process delays, The Real Estate Council of Greater Fort Worth retained Highland Market Research to analyze potential lost revenue associated with delays.
Given the complexity of the development process itself, and the multiple lanes of development, it is impossible to definitively quantify the exact dollar amount lost through process delays; however, reasonable assumptions can be made about calculating potential impacts of processing delays.
The process of developing a financially conservative model involved meetings with City of Fort Worth staff including Development Services Director D.J. Harrell and Project Assistant Miranda Meza. Internal department materials including the 2017 Development and Occupation Cost Survey were also provided.
The resulting analysis was created through conversations with City staff, evaluation of internal documents provided to Highland Market Research, as well as information provided on the City of Fort Worth Development Services Department webpage.
The following pages highlight current market conditions, population growth trends, increased demand, process challenges, and the sample lost revenue impacts associated with process delays.
Highland Market Research would like to thank the following individuals for their assistance with the 2022 Development Process – Special Analysis.
D.J. Harrell Director, Development Services Department
Miranda Meza Project Assistant, Development Services Department
Jay Chapa Member, The Real Estate Council of Greater Fort Worth
Current Market Conditions
The City of Fort Worth was the fastest growing large city in the U.S. between 2010 and 2020. The total population increased more than 177,000 persons during that time, resulting in an average of 2.4% growth per year 1 As a result of this rapid growth, Fort Worth is now the 12th largest city in the nation.
The growth can be contributed to many factors including the business-friendly Texas economy, comparable affordability to other major metro areas, and the allure of the Texas lifestyle.
With a young and educated population, development and demand for expanded housing, dining, and working accommodations will continue to rise steadily in the DFW Metroplex (Tables 1 and 2).
Specifically, demand and pricing for residential housing in the area has created a 21.4% yearover-year increase in the median close price (Table 3 on the following page).
Additionally, the median February 2022 close price in the DFW metroplex is approximately 14% higher than the February 2022 median close price on a home elsewhere in Texas.
Regional unemployment also continues its downward trend post-pandemic (Chart 1).
Population Growth Trends
In February 2022, the Texas Workforce Commission reported a 7.9% year-over-year increase in new jobs, or a total of 292,000. Each year for the past five years, the average job growth rate in Texas has increased by 2.5% 3 .
As a result of this consistent job growth, there have been steady population increases in Texas and especially so in the DFW metroplex
The Texas Demographic Center studies population projections for 40 years beyond the census data updated in the United States every 10 years. Based on their most recent projections, the Texas Demographic Center predicts that the State of Texas will reach an overall population of 47.4 million by 2050 4 According to the January 2019 update:
“Numerically, much of the population growth is projected to come from the large urban counties of Harris, Bexar, Dallas, and Tarrant, with each of these counties projected to add over one million people by 2050.”
The current population in the State of Texas is just below 29 million. Reaching 47.4 million by 2050 would account for a 38% increase in population in less than thirty years with the existing urban hubs seeing much of the growth (Chart 2).
The population in the DFW metroplex has risen 8.5% in five years, from 7,042,322 in 2015 to 7,694,138 at the end of 2020 (Chart 3).
Resulting Increased Demand
Increased development demand naturally follows growth. In the case of Fort Worth, an atmosphere of frenzied development is bringing new and existing developers to the market who are in a hurry to complete projects to take advantage of the market conditions in residential, commercial, and industrial development. When comparing year-to-date figures for the past three years for single-family permits, the Fort Worth Development Department has experienced an 11.7% growth rate in permits filed 5 (Table 4).
The demand for development is not limited to just the residential market; commercial permits for the same period are double what they were for the previous two years (Table 5).
It is not only the number of projects entering the development pipeline that is increasing but also the overall value across the board. One example can be found in new commercial permits with an average increase of 7.38% since 2018 (Table 6).
As the Development Services Department within the City of Fort Worth serves as the primary point of contact for all development projects ranging from simple home improvements to vast residential developments and commercial projects, it is not surprising that the volume of interactions with the public is high and steadily climbing. In 2019, Development Services responded to 200,000 inquiries, including 39,317 walk-ins, 54,800 emails and 101,386 phone calls 6
One illustration of the increased demand is in building permits. The annual amount of building permits filed between 2017 and 2021 has increased by over 27% (Chart 4).
Chart 4. City of Fort Worth Building Permits
During this time of rapid growth not only in Texas, but specifically the City of Fort Worth, the Development Services Department within the City has maintained a relatively consistent staffing level 7 (Chart 5 on the following page).
6Fort Worth Business Press, April 1, 2022, “New permit guidance tool simplifies the development process.”
7 Development Services Director D.J. Harrell cited that the recent change from 162 authorized positions to 174 was due to the consolidation of staff focused on development activities that were previously assigned to other departments within the city. The additional twelve positions were not new additions but rather existing filled positions that were brought under the Development Services Department umbrella
Cumulative Staff vs. Permit Growth
Comparisons can also be made between the City of Fort Worth and other cities that are similar in population and population growth rates, to include cities such as Dallas, Austin, Columbus, Ohio, and Jacksonville, Florida. Because the development process is different in each city, a true comparison is not possible. However, all the aforementioned cities employ more full-time positions in their development services departments (Table 7).
Lost Revenue Opportunities
With increased development interest and demand, process delays and communication challenges have become part of the development landscape. This has resulted in potential deferred revenue associated with taxes, development fees, and economic impact.
Due to the substantially complex nature of the development process itself, and the multiple lanes of development, it is impossible to definitively quantify the exact dollar amount lost through process delays; however, reasonable assumptions can be made about calculating potential impacts of processing delays.
When thinking about lost revenue, a visual example of a bell curve is helpful when contemplating delays and projects that fall past the standard published timelines. Using the sample bell curve chart below, if a standard development process could be completed in a certain number of calendar days, all projects that fall to the right of the peak of the bell curve would result in lost revenue through potential taxes, development fees and economic impact.
As an example, using the total year-to-date (January – September) commercial valuations of $2.68B realized through 1,705 commercial permits, the average project valuation would be $1,571,848 (Table 8).
Using the same assumptions, for every delay defined in weeks, the number of total projects reaching final development approval results in an estimated loss over $496 million in only tenweeks’ time (Table 9).
This results in a potential tax loss ranging from $57,108 to $1,427,702 (Table 10).
The projected loss in economic impact circulating through the Fort Worth economy is illustrated in Table 11 below.
Using $10,000 as the average development fee for the sample project valuation, the potential loss in development fees could also be calculated (Table 12).
Development Services Budget
According to the fiscal year 2021 budget, the City of Fort Worth has twenty-two general fund departments. Of the twenty-two departments, only two were reported to generate more income than expenses, one of which being the Development Services Department For fiscal year 2019, the department generated $2,736,653 in surplus revenue (Table 13).
Expectations for Development Services and Partner Departments
A Memo from the Office of Fort Worth City Manager
*Date not included in the original memo
City Manager’s Office Expectations for Development Services and Partner Departments
All staff involved in development review and approval (including Law as applicable):
o Provide an exceptional customer experience to all customers
o View themselves as equal partners to customers and other staff in the development process
o Prioritize development review to meet or exceed service and timeframe expectations and share responsibility for team performance
o Support streamlining commercial* development review: 1) reduce number of departments and teams involved in day-to-day review, 2) conduct continuous Lean review on additional processes to shorten timeframes and simplify critical path, 3) proactively add and integrate all appropriate functions to Accela for tracking, 4) err on the side of being too flexible rather than too rigid or unreasonable when codes are not explicit, 5) reduce number of repeat reviews by proactively discussing options and solutions with applicants and ensuring customer understanding of holds/revisions, 6) readily provide a user-friendly administrative appeal option, etc.
o Are committed to a culture of continuous innovation, problem-solving , and transparency in decisions and processes
o Provide chapter and verse of codes causing holds or requiring revisions; apply codes consistently across teams; regularly review local codes for potential amendments based on effective practices
o Are committed to stewardship of public resources and have special concern for the longrange consequences of present actions
Development Services (DS) Director and DS leadership have lead responsibility for proactively facilitating and resolving development issues with support responsibility from partner departments. If there is internal disagreement, DS Director decides non-waiver/interpretation issues and partner departments may appeal decisions to CMO.
Partner departments retain lead responsibility for content and interpretation of codes as follows:
o Health, environ., solid waste codes Code Compliance and Water
o Building/construction codes Development Services
o CFA Ordinance Development Services
o Subdivision Ordinance Development Services
o Zoning Ordinance Development Services
o Fire codes Fire
o Park dedication policy Park and Recreation
o Trees/planting in ROW standards Park and Recreation
o Floodplain standards TPW
o Stormwater design standards TPW
o Street/ROW design standards TPW
o Water/sewer policies, regulations, Water design standards
DS staff and managers responsible for applying any of the codes above must be qualified to do so and must comply with legal and ethical standards for their profession. Partner departments participate in hiring and evaluation of and provide code training to DS staff and managers.
DS staff responsible for applying codes above must consult with their DS manager on any recommended waivers/alternatives/interpretations to the codes. Qualified DS managers have authority to approve minor ones, and pertinent partner departments approve major ones.
* Commercial = Commercial, industrial, mixed-use, infill, and small business