Eleven senior members of the Arlington development community attended a meeting at City Hall to review and discuss the results of a satisfaction survey conducted by the city in December. Jim Parajon, Deputy City Manager and Gincy Thoppil, Director Planning and Development Services conducted the meeting. Mayor Jeff Williams and Councilmember Victoria Farrar-Myers also attended.
Ms. Thoppil opened the meeting with the purpose of gathering more context from the group than could be determined from the online survey with the goal of developing a list of topics, which if focused on by her team in Planning and Development would make the process more effective and efficient for the development community going forward. This is part of an ongoing effort by the city to become the best city for investment in North Texas.
During the last year, the City of Arlington rolled out a new and improved version of ArlingtonPermits.com and moved to electronic plan review. The survey data indicated that the enhancements to ArlingtonPermits.com were well received with more than 70% of respondents satisfied or very satisfied. Electronic Plan Review was not as well received with 50% of respondents indicating it still needs improvement. Some of the issues identified had been corrected, but the City accepted that it was a work in progress.
There was dissatisfaction expressed with the state laws impacting the planning and development process enacted in the last two legislatures. One developer commented that members of the legislature were sold that these new laws would benefit developers, but, in fact, they have had negative effects.
Fire safety inspections had been highlighted as an issue in the past. However, only one survey respondent mentioned it. The discussion in the meeting focused on coordinating fire inspections with the general contractor rather than with individual sub-contractors.
At the conclusion of the meeting, after several of the development community participants expressed how very pleased and satisfied they were with the process in place today, Mr. Parajon said he had collected eight areas of concern from the meeting and that the City would work to address them.