Friday, April 29, 2016

Development Insight Update

April 2016 

Development Services 

Roderick J. Sanchez
AICP, CBO-Director

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Development & Business  
Services Center

Main Address:
1901 S. Alamo San Antonio, TX 78204

Office Hours: 
7:45 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Monday - Friday

Mailing Address:
PO Box 839966
San Antonio, TX 78283

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BuildSA Brief

The Development Services Department (DSD) is on track to deliver BuildSA, a 
premier online tool that will enhance your overall user experience when doing 
business with us. As previously shared, BuildSA will be launched by functional 
groups in three phases.

Land Development, Functional Group 1, will be the first group that goes into 
production and is scheduled to go live at the end of this calendar year. As such, 
the BuildSA Project Team is pleased to announce all of the Land Development 
records, including Master Development Plans, Planned Unit Developments, 
Plats, Addressing, Zoning, Board of Adjustment, Variances, Rights Determination, 
Non-Conforming Use, Construction Inspections, Preliminary Plan Review Meetings, 
Certificate of Determinations, and Zoning Verification Letters have been designed, 
completing a major milestone for the department.

"March was a very busy month for DSD Subject Matter Experts, and our 
partnering agencies including SAWS, CPS Energy, Bexar County, Information 
Technology Services Department and the Accela team," said Melissa Ramirez, 
DSD Interim Land Development Assistant Director. "Together, we spent over 200 
hours validating the design of all Land Development processes and workflows to 
ensure customers have the online tools to get the job done."

Over the next few weeks, Accela, will configure the new system along with the 
online customer portal. The online portal will provide access to application 
submittal, payment processing, real-time application monitoring, and construction 
inspection request. BuildSA will maximize communication while minimizing paper. 

As such, DSD is on target to complete the following major milestones in June 2016:

          Accela to complete the building and design of all Land Development record
  • Convert the Training Room, located at the One Stop, to a dedicated BuildSATraining Lab
  • Launch the BuildSA Web site - coming soon!
According to the project timeline, Plan Review and Field Services, Functional Group
 2, transactions will be deployed in May 2017 with Code Enforcement, Functional 
Group 3, transactions going live late November. As we continue to work on this 
transition, the team is looking forward to being fully deployed early 2018.

DSD is excited about our new BuildSA system and will bring you updates monthly 
on next steps.

San Antonio is Tree City USA

The City of San Antonio (COSA) officially became a Tree City USA earlier this 
monthThis program offers direction, assistance and national recognition for our 
community and a framework for sustainable tree programs, initiatives and 

"Recognition as a Tree City USA provides us with a great opportunity to 
celebrate the importance of having a healthy and well- maintained tree canopy 
throughout our community," said Rod Sanchez, Director of Development 
Services Department (DSD). "Learning proper care for our trees, their value 
and benefits, will safeguard and enhance the quality of life we all enjoy in 
San Antonio."

Started in 1976, Tree City USA is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in 
 with the U.S. Forest Services and National Association of State Foresters. An 
incorporated municipality of any size can qualify by meeting these four 
fundamental standards:
  • A Tree Board or Department that protects, preserves, plants and maintains
    city trees - COSA created the Tree Preservation Section in 1997
  • A tree care ordinance
  • A community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita
  • An Arbor Day Observance and Proclamation

The City created a Tree Preservation team in 1997, in conjunction with the first 
Tree Preservation Ordinance approved by City Council that same year. Today, the 
City Arborist manages a staff of 13 under the umbrella of DSD.

In a city with an estimated 1.4 million residents, the City's Development Services, 
Parks and Recreation and Transportation and Capital Improvements departments 
have an annual estimated combined budget of $3.4 million dedicated to the 
preservation and maintenance of trees in the City. This investment by the City 
includes community outreach programs to raise public awareness about 
the value and benefits provided by a healthy and diverse tree canopy.

Trees benefit our City by reducing energy costs and consumption, boosting property 
values, increasing stronger connectivity and sense of community.

The City of San Antonio is now one of the more than 3,400 towns and cities across 
the nation recognized as a Tree City USA.

Performance Measures - FY 2016

Performance Measures

The complete Performance Measures Report is available online

Permit Activity    


Information Bulletins and Other Resources

For a complete list of resources, visit the sites shared below:    

The DSD Resources website also offers more information, including Document Search
Forms and Applications, and Latest News.

DSD Hosts Inaugural Building Officials Meeting
The City of San Antonio Development Services Department hosted the first meeting of building officials, inspectors, engineers, plans examiners and others in the Bexar County 
metro on April 12, 2016 at the Phil Hardberger Park Urban Ecology Center.

The goal of this meeting was to discuss common building-related issues that impacted different cities and organizations. Topics discussed included permitting processes, code changes, inspections and code enforcement.

Sixteen (16) cities within the Bexar County metro area attended and were able to discuss these topics and others during a question and answer session. The meeting was successful, and the group agreed to hold similar sessions in the future.

"The meeting was a success and a very informative venture as our cities learned how others approach similar issues in the development process," said Michael Dice, Interim DSD Policy Administrator. "We look forward to our next meeting with additional cities that have already committed to attending; allowing for further communication, problem solving, and consistency across our cities and departments."

Oak Wilt Prevention

Oak Wilt is a deadly fungal disease that infects and disables the water-conducting system in oak trees. All Oaks are susceptible to this disease, but some species more than others.  
In Central Texas, Oak Wilt is prevalent and spreads both above and below ground.  To help prevent Oak Wilt in your neighborhood, minimize pruning oak trees between February 1 and July 1.  This is when the Oak Wilt fungus is most active. Note that the best time to prune trees is either in the middle of the summer, when temperatures are the hottest, or in late fall/early winter months when temperatures can be the coldest.

The City Arborist also suggests the following tips:
  • Paint all cuts and wounds on oak trees within 30 minutes.
  • Remove Red Oaks identified with Oak Wilt.
  • Know where your firewood comes from; do not transport unseasoned firewood from diseased Red Oaks. 
In addition, make sure contractors doing tree pruning have a valid, city issued tree maintenance license and proper training.

If you suspect Oak Wilt in your neighborhood, contact the Texas Forest Service at (210) 494-1742.

To learn more about Oak Wilt, visit the Preserving our Natural Habitat Web site.  

Additional resources for Oak Wilt prevention include:

Register for SABCA Training Today
The Development Services Department will host the San Antonio Building Codes Academy (SABCA) on May 4 and May 5 at the Phil Hardberger Park,Urban Ecology Center. Join us to learn more about the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) Changes.
Shirley Ellis, Energy Codes Specialist, Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, will present a comprehensive, high-level overview of all changes between the 2015-2012 IECC and the significant changes from the 2009 IECC.  

Training Sessions are as follows: 
  • 2015 IECC: What's New - Residential Buildings
    • o    May 4, 2016, 8 - 11:30 a.m.
    • o    May 5, 2016, 12:30 - 4 p.m. 
  • 2015 IECC: What's New - Commercial Buildings
    • o    May 4, 2016, 12:30 - 4 p.m.
    • o    May 5, 2016, 8 - 11:30 a.m.
Phil Hardberger Park, Urban Ecology Center
8400 NW Military Hwy, San Antonio, TX.

Please follow the link below to register:

City News


The City of San Antonio's budget is a reflection of the community's priorities. Each year the City is required by law to pass a balanced budget. Your feedback is critical to balancing the budget and determining where funds should be allocated. 


The City of San Antonio presents the City Insider podcast outlining the most important issues and exciting city projects. 

Public Open Houses offered to help residents learn more about the Comprehensive Plan and how to help advance implementation.

Other Department News
 - Customer Comments, New Hires, Recognition, etc.  
Here's what you said about us...

Richard Chamberlin, PE, Development Services Engineer, Plan Review
I have been coordinating with Richard Chamberlin on permit requirements for SAWS projects for over 5 years. I cannot begin to express how committed Mr. Chamberlin is to customer service. He ALWAYS provides PROMPT responses. Working for a government agency, we often get criticized for not being responsive. I want to make sure he is recognized for not just doing his job but doing an EXCELLENT job.

Herminio Griego, Asst. City Arborist, Engineering and Tree Preservation,  Land Development
Extremely knowledgeable and very helpful and courteous.

Ray Herrera, Sr. Building Inspector, Commercial Building Inspections, Field Services
I would like to say that Ray Herrera has been very supportive to me as well as my company with inspections or questions that help expedite the project. Mr. Herrera has great knowledge of all the inspections and helps me and my team onsite.

Valerie Gleason, Sr. Plans Examiner, Plan Review
It is difficult to describe how valuable it is to the engineering design community to have the kind of prompt, detailed, and accurate code discussion that I consistently receive from Ms. Valerie Gleason. My thanks to her for her excellent work!
Mary Moralez-Gonzales, Planner, Zoning, Land Development
I want to thank you sincerely for getting back with me the same day. How refreshing for the City of San Antonio!!! You might find this unusual... but this really is worth yelling the good news about!!!

Leticia Villareal, Code Enforcement Officer, Field Services
The above listed Code Officer assists me almost daily. Her knowledge and professionalism is an asset to the department. Whenever I have an issue that needs to be addressed I know that it will get handled without delay.

New Employees




Job Opportunities

Development Services is recruiting for the following positions; apply on-line at:  jobs.

For comments or suggestions regarding the Development Services Newsletter, contact Kathy Quinones.

City of San Antonio, Development Services, 1901 S. Alamo, San Antonio, TX 78204

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