Thursday, October 3, 2019

The SA Development Services Department (DSD)

In this Issue:
·     FY 2020 City Budget Approved
·     Security Measures at DSD
·     BuildSA News
·     DSD Parking Lot Overflow
·     Approved Ordinances
·     Legislative Update
·     Online Resources
·     Performance Measures
·     Department News

FY 2020 City Budget Approved

On Sept. 12, 2019, City Council adopted the
FY 2020 City of San Antonio Budget. The new budget will be effective on Oct. 1.
The Development Services Department (DSD) will benefit from the FY 2020 budget by adding 15 new positions needed to address work without permits around the city, regulation of short-term rental properties and land-use regulation of areas surrounding military bases. The new positions are as follows:
·     Land Development – (1) Engineering Construction Inspector, (1) Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Military Protection Areas, (1) Short-Term Rentals, (1) Senior Planner – Addressing, and (1) Senior Engineering Associate – Supplemental Street Lights
·     Field Services – Inspections – (4) Inspectors, (1) Specialist, and (1) Supervisor; all to make up the Strike Team
·     Plan Review – (1) Senior Development Services Specialist – Completeness and Assignment Review Team (CAR), and (1) Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Military Protection Areas
·     Support Services – (1) Senior Management Analyst – Fiscal, and (1) Special Projects Manager – BuildSA.

Additionally, there are no increased fees, and no reductions to the Development Services Fund.

The General Fund will exhibit efficiencies with Code Enforcement reductions of rental of facilities (recent moves to the new city service centers), and some funds related to abatement. These reductions will not affect any services to our community.

Overall, this is good news as we have a lot of work to do, and soon we will have added resources to support DSD’s mission.

New Security Measures at DSD

In an effort to enhance safety at the Cliff Morton Development & Business Center for our customers and staff, DSD recently implemented new security measures.

Coming in, customers will notice metal detectors and security personnel with wands scanning all entering the facility, a set up similar to that found in Council Chambers and City Hall. All access will be funneled through the main front entrance. When visiting the office, be sure to account for some additional time as you make plans to visit us for permits, meetings, and Board and Commission hearings.

In addition, the second floor reception area (Room 235) is no longer available as a waiting room. For customers who need to meet with city staff, please check in at the Meet and Greet desk on the first floor, after going through the metal detectors, for appointments.

We appreciate your patience and thank you for helping us make our building a safer place to do business.

For questions, please contact us at

BuildSA News

Development Services continues diligent work on the implementation of our BuildSA software system. BuildSA will eventually replace and consolidate various systems utilized today to deliver our services. As our new system is developed, we remain completely committed to our overall goals: meeting our cycle times; delivering quality service and, most importantly, partnering with you, our valued customers, to help you through the permitting process.

Aug. 26, 2019 saw the BuildSA roll-out of escrow accounts for our Land Development customers. This new service is available for organizations and individuals, not only saving them time but offering the availability to deposit funds and pay fees online 24/7. 

Additional news is the functionality of purchasing garage/yard sale permits online using BuildSA. This exciting service becomes effective today, Oct. 1, and is also available to customers 24/7.

The software implementation effort continues through next year. By winter of 2020, Development Services will be utilizing one system for Land Development, Code Enforcement, and Building and Fire Marshal applications. The implementation of a new system offers opportunities to streamline our application process for our customers. Over the last few weeks, we’ve had an opportunity to see Building License Registration applications in BuildSA and we are excited for our customers to see and experience the results as well.

In looking ahead, we remain strongly committed toward creating an innovative and user-friendly system for you, our valued customers. 

For questions about BuildSA, please email us at

Now Available - Garage Permits Online

Starting Oct. 1, 2019, customers will have access to purchase Garage Sale Permits online using BuildSA! From home or office and 24/7, customers can apply online and print their garage sale permit and decals with ease.

Did you know? BuildSA Training is Available

BuildSA training is available every month at the One Stop. This month's training is Creating a TIA Record. Training takes place on Oct. 4; be sure to sign up at:

Visit the BuildSA training schedule for upcoming classes, including creating plats, zoning records, refunds, and more. When registering, be sure to include the course and date you are signing up for.  

DSD Parking Lot #2 is Open

DSD Parking Lot #2 1902 S. Alamo
Often times the parking lot at the One Stop is crowded, with no place to park. Typically the shortage of parking is when the department is holding board and commission meetings. To help with parking, please use the parking lot across the street. Be sure to use the cross walk for your safety! 

Approved Ordinances

The Latest on Military Protection Areas
The City of San Antonio is continuing to move forward with work on the ETJ Military Protection Areas. The City Council approved the ETJMPA regulations, maps, overlays (MLOD, MSAO, AHOD, and ERZD), and Bexar County Interlocal Agreement on Sept. 19, 2019. The City Council approval was in line with the previous Planning Commission and Zoning Commission recommendations.

More information on the ETJMPA can be found on our website.

Digital Billboards
In February of this year, the City was approached by Clear Channel Outdoor with a proposal requesting to make the 13 existing digital billboards, within city limits, double-sided. In exchange, 265 junior (less than 100 sq. ft.) billboards would be permanently removed. In addition, four billboards would be taken down for each new digital face specifically stating one of them would be in a scenic, urban or historic corridor. One important note – no additional digital billboard structures would be allowed in San Antonio with this ordinance.

A task force comprised of sign companies, billboard companies, San Antonio Board of Realtors, home builders, American Institute of Architects, San Antonio Apartment Association, Habitat for Humanity, Scenic San Antonio, and various community representatives was formed to discuss proposed changes. Simultaneously, a survey was created to hear from the community as part of the SASpeakUp process.
Presented on Sept. 19 to City Council, an ordinance was adopted that incorporated the changes proposed by Clear Channel Outdoor.

For more information, visit the Digital Billboard Updates website.

Legislative Update - HB 2439

House Bill (HB) 2439 restricts the ability of a municipality to regulate the use, installation, or method of using building materials. The bill includes several exemptions including Military Lighting Overlays, buildings in designated Historic Districts, Local Historic Landmarks, River Improvement Overlays (RIOs), and World Heritage Buffers. In addition, the bill provides an exemption for “building[s] located in a place or area designated for its historical, cultural, or architectural importance and significance by a governmental entity, if designated before April 1, 2019.” DSD worked closely with the City Attorney’s Office, Planning Department, and Office of Historic Preservation in order to make a determination as to the applicability of the exemptions in the bill.

Based on the exemptions outlined above, HB 2439 includes exemptions for building material regulations in Neighborhood Conservation Districts (NCDs) and Corridor Districts placed on or before April 1. The bill does not allow building material regulations for NCDs and Corridor Districts created or modified after April 1. It is important to note that, although HB 2439 removes the ability of the City to enforce building materials restrictions in new Corridors and NCDs, the bill does not remove the ability to enforce other provisions of these districts such as fence and sign materials, setbacks, landscaping, color palette, and other dimensional and design aspects. A Rule Interpretation Determination (RID 2019-005) and an Information Bulletin (IB 575) have been issued to address these issues.

HB 2439 also contains an exemption for local amendments to the model codes, and DSD is continuing to apply local amendments to the building and trades codes, which were adopted by City Council. 

If you have any questions or concerns regarding these changes, please contact the Policy Administration Section at

Online Resources

The following Information Bulletins (IB) updates and new Rule Interpretation Determinations (RID) have been added to the documents online section of DSD's website:

IB 575 was developed to inform our customers of the impacts of House Bill (HB) 2439 for Neighborhood Conservation Districts (NCDs) and Corridor Districts. This IB describes and clarifies the incorporated changes to the NCDs and Corridor Districts in order to address changes to state law made by HB 2439.

This IB provides guidance to developers for consideration of solid waste services for locations within the San Antonio City Limits.

This RID is a customer and staff clarification effort to incorporate changes to the Neighborhood Conservation Districts and Corridor Overlays in order to address changes to state law made by House Bill (HB) 2439. HB 2439 was signed by Governor Abbott on June 14, 2019, and became effective Sept. 1, 2019.
For a complete list of resources, visit the following sites:

·     Annual Reports
·     Information Bulletins**

**Information Bulletins located in Documents Online are numbered by section. The assigned numbers are generally categorized as outlined below:

·     100s - Plan Review
·     200s - Permits and Inspections
·     300s - BuildSA
·     500s - Land Development
·     800s - Code Enforcement

Performance Measures & Permit Report

Performance Measures
The performance measures report is available online.

Permit Report

Department News

Job Opportunities: If you are interested in joining our department, apply online.

For new hires, promotions, and retirement news, click here.

Quick Links


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

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