Saturday, April 1, 2017

Development Insight March 2017

Partnering with our community to build and maintain a safer San Antonio  |  March 2017

In This Issue

Quick Links

Development Services Department

Michael Shannon
Interim Director

Development & Business Service Center 

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

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

Mailing Address:
PO Box 839966
San Antonio, TX 78283

IAS Re-Accrediation for Development Services
On Feb. 8, 2017, the Development Services Department (DSD) was re-certified by the International Accreditation Service (IAS) for Building Departments/Code Enforcement Agencies. 

A team of IAS representatives completed an on-site re-evaluation over a three-day period, and confirmed the department's enforcement of building codes and related business processes for permitting, construction codes, plan reviews, verification of professional licenses and certifications, inspections, complaints and appeals, and certificates of occupancy.

During the visit, the representatives observed field inspections, plan reviews and the One Stop counter, along with the department's Standing Operating Procedures. They also assessed current processes, which included interviews with several community leaders, stakeholders, and City employees. 

"Overall, the evaluation team was really impressed with the department," said Terry Eddy, IAS Evaluator. "Under the direction of the Development Services' Leadership, the department has established a skilled, cohesive management team and staff that works well together and embodies a true customer service atmosphere."

The IAS representatives were most impressed with the department's culture of facilitation, making the building process easier for customers. Additional highlights include the department's project manager program; communication between fire and building inspection teams, coordination of hazardous material plan reviews; and innovative outreach tools like the route optimization software and the plan review commercial permitting business card USB drive that contains all necessary forms and information bulletins for commercial building in San Antonio.   

"I'm very proud of this achievement," said Michael Shannon, Interim Director, Development Services. "By upholding this accreditation, my department demonstrates its commitment to building and maintaining a safer San Antonio while ensuring our customer's needs are met."

The IAS program is the first nationally recognized accreditation program, for building departments, that guarantees departments are operating at the highest level of ethical, legal and technical standards. DSD received its original accreditation in October 2010, and was re-accredited in January 2014. 

Online Resources

The latest  Information Bulletins (IB) are provided below: 

This IB was amended to simplify the application and review process for the tree preservation or tree canopy permits. DSD will accept tree applications showing the trees/areas of tree canopy to remain on the single-family residential lots, and will be reviewed by the City Arborist. To learn more about the evaluation, visit the IB. 

The application embedded in IB 126 was updated to include additional applicant contact information; there was no update to the information bulletin. 

For a complete list of resources, visit the following sites:  

Coming Soon - Southern Edwards Plateau-Habitat Conservation Plan 
The Southern Edwards Plateau Habitat Conservation Plan (SEP-HCP) was recently adopted by both the City of San Antonio and Bexar County through the execution of an Interlocal Agreement (ILA).  

The SEP-HCP provides a locally established approach for compliance with the Federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) by allowing the City and County to offer mitigation credit options.  Bexar County and the City of San Antonio have been issued a 30-year Joint Incidental Take Permit by US Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS), and with the execution of the ILA, the plan is moving toward implementation.  The SEP-HCP program will help support the military's mission and provide a predictable, streamlined and locally controlled process for obtaining compliance with ESA, while continuing to balance species conservation with growth and development.

In Bexar County, the ESA applies to two endangered songbirds, the golden-cheeked warbler and the black-capped vireo, and seven endangered karst invertebrates.  The SEP-HCP will also provide protections for several other species considered rare or threatened.

An approved HCP allows landowners, who have qualifying habitat acreage and want to preserve it as open space, to voluntarily donate or sell their land  to the City or County. In turn, the City and County can help streamline public and private development in areas where the ESA applies by providing "credits" that offset the "takings" of land where protected species might be impacted.

The City's Development Services Department expects enrollment applications for projects interested in participating in the program to be available in April.  

Next steps include finishing up details related to the Coordinating Committee meetings, process, procedures, and certificate issuance.  Please note that all information will be published on a new DSD web page dedicated to SEP-HCP.  We will keep you updated  as information is available. 

There will be a signing ceremony on April 19, at 10 a.m., at the Plaza De Armas Gallery. Numerous dignitaries will be in attendance to celebrate this step forward in ESA compliance and in supporting our military's mission.

Should you have any questions please email

Performance Measures - FY 2017

The complete Performance Measures report is available online.

Permit Activity

Post-Disaster Support for After the Storm
Just last month, several tornadoes left behind extensive damage to trees, homes and utility
infrastructure.  As part of the City's first responders, the Code Enforcement Damage Assessment Team, or DAT for short, was activated to do expedited, onsite evaluations and assessments to determine life safety damages in residential structures, commercial properties and infrastructure impacted by this natural event.  They focused on response and recovery needs by verifying the disaster's impact and the community's ability to recover.  The team prioritized recovery efforts by coordinating with other agencies such as the American Red Cross. 

Beware of fraud and scams
Unfortunately, times like these also make San Antonio the ideal environment suitable for frauds, scams and criminal behavior. Fraudulent, unqualified contractors or "storm chasers," come from all over the country looking for vulnerable consumers. With resources, materials and contractors limited, homeowners might try and seek a quick and easier road.

To assist homeowners affected by last month's storms, our staff created a reference guide and packet of materials to assist residents through this challenging time. Distributed by our DAT team, in it are tips of what homeowners can do to decrease the chance of becoming a victim of this crime. Knowing how difficult times like these can be, our packet included a list of key staff members and their contact information for residents to call with questions regarding permits, contractors, and tree maintenance contractors.  Here are some of the tips: 
  • Call your insurance company first.
  • Use local companies, making sure you check their references and phone numbers.
  • Research, research, research. Check the Better Business Bureau, your insurer or agent, and internet.
  • Be leery of contractors coming to your door or those in unmarked vehicles.
  • Get multiple bids and ensure they are members of an association, such as Roofing Contractors Association of Texas.
  • The written estimates should be on company letterhead, with clear contact information.
  • Check if the contractor is registered with the City of San Antonio.
  • It's a red flag if the contractor asks for payment up front or offers to cut a deal if you pull the needed permits. Never pay the total cost of the project upfront.  
To find out if a contractor is registered, call us at (210) 207-1111 or visit our web site at and click on "Contractor Registration & Licensing." Permits are not issued to unregistered contractors.

Other Department News
- Customer Comments, New Hires, Recognition and more

Here's what you said about us...

Xavier Limas, Sr. Building Inspector, Hospital Team, Field Services
Xavier and his team were excellent to work with. He was very helpful in making sure we got our inspections in a timely manner. He kept us informed on things that were needed for certain inspections. He was always available by phone to answer any questions that we had. 

Carlos Aldaba, Plans Examiner II, Plan Review
Mr. Aldaba was very patient and professional with us and explained in detail everything we needed to obtain a building permit for a two-story addition. We wanted to share a few words of gratitude.

Jeremy Camarillo, Development Services Specialist Supervisor, Customer Advocate, Plan Review
I am extremely pleased with the level of customer service I received from Jeremy. Jeremy was professional, courteous, and knowledgeable enough to help me untangle the mess my general contractor left me with. Jeremy was very responsive and he deserves to be recognized.

Reid Cassidy, Planner, Land Entitlements, Land Development
This was my first time coming into the office and was relieved to have my questions answered by someone as friendly and knowledgeable as Mr. Cassidy.

Homer Callahan, Maintenance Worker, Graffiti, Field Services
Homer was awesome and we look forward to working with him in the future.

Zeke Solis, Senior Planner and Shepard Beamon, Senior Planner, Zoning, Land Development
The staff working with our variance request was helpful and courteous.  Even after dealing with a difficult customer, Zeke had a smile on his face and treated us very well. I am pleased to say Mr. Beamon, was very respectful when he arrived at my mother's residence and answered my questions as he was retrieving measurements. So far, as a recent veteran, I am proud to be taken care of by my city employees. This experience exceeded my expectations of customer service and I'm very pleased. Thank you and God Bless. 


Congratulations to our DSD employees who received the following certifications: 

New Hires


Job Opportunities

Development Services is recruiting for the following positions.  To learn more, or apply online, visit the DSD jobs at the City of San Antonio Career Center.

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

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