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In my experience--helping get a church built in South Dallas last year and not having anyone in city government to grease the wheels for us, for reasons I won't detail here (and they don't reflect well on the city)--it is extremely difficult to work with the city of Dallas in obtaining any and all kinds of development-related permits and zoning variances. None of the departments knows what the other is doing, it takes forever to get the permits processed (you will spend hours sitting in city offices waiting for someone knowledgeable to show up), and you will receive many conflicting interpretations of city regulations and codes. My hunch is that one has a different experience if he has a friend on the council pushing his project through, and that would obviously tend to favor certain big developers. --Julie Lyons