HUBA claims changes are needed to bring more small businesses to Haltom City and to improve NE 28th Street
HALTOM CITY, TX, February 25, 2022 /24-7PressRelease/ — Haltom City is preparing to have public meetings, as they do every 10 years, to review the city’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP). Haltom United Business Alliance (HUBA), a pro-growth group of local business owners, intends to take part in the public hearings on Haltom City’s master plan.
HUBA supports efforts to bring more restaurants to Haltom City and to open Haltom City to food trucks with a minimum of restrictions. Its members would also like to see a major grocery store open in Haltom City and the restrictions on the sale of packaged liquor eased.
HUBA Communications Director Joe Palmer, said, “The city is growing nicely on the north side, but the central and southern parts have quite a few vacant commercial properties, and almost everyone agrees that those areas have been in decline for decades.” The City’s consultant, working on a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) said many of the buildings there were “decrepit.”
“As far as those vacancies, we want to lure back some of the small businesses that have left Haltom City over the years, especially the automotive-related businesses that used to be a big part of the local economy,” said Palmer.
“About 20 years ago, Haltom City Council passed an ordinance (#0-220-032-15) that virtually eliminated the entry of automotive-related uses, even in the parts of the city zoned for heavy industrial uses,” said Palmer.
“The result of this two-decade-old ordinance is some of the absurdity we have today,” said Palmer. “Haltom City will let you open a welding shop or do manufacturing in an industrial area, but trying to open a tire store, a lube shop, a detail shop, anything auto-related, triggers extra scrutiny and requires longer to open,” said Palmer.
The members of HUBA would like to see that changed when the master plan is reviewed because Haltom City should not discriminate against auto-related businesses, according to HUBA member Ron Sturgeon, a local entrepreneur who opened his first business in Haltom City nearly 50 years ago, a VW repair shop, while he and his family lived in the Skyline mobile home park.
“The current Haltom City Council isn’t to blame for the original ordinance because most of them are relatively new, but they have continued a bad policy and they have made public statements that they don’t want more land used for automotive businesses in Haltom City,” said Sturgeon. “Several members of Haltom City Council have also stated many times that they don’t want new businesses coming to Haltom City if they will compete with existing ones, and they did pass new restrictions on auto-related businesses in 2021.
“The blue-collar people who live and work here don’t share that attitude,” said Sturgeon. “They own cars and trucks, they use auto services, and most of them want new tire stores, auto parts stores, detail shops, lube shops, and muffler shops opened in Haltom City,” added Sturgeon. “They want the products and services these new enterprises offer, and they appreciate the sales taxes they pay and the employment opportunities they represent.” The current council is responsible for failing to recognize that the declining southern and central parts of the city have different needs than the northern parts of the city.
HUBA would also like to see a path forward for redevelopment of NE 28th Street. “In the long-running war on auto-related businesses, past Haltom City Councils passed rules that made the car dealerships along NE 28th legal, non-conforming, a status that means that using the land for a dealership is allowed but it does not conform to the city’s desired use for the land. “The problem with making the car dealers legal non-conforming is that then they can’t get permits to expand or make any improvements, and the result is they have become run down,” said Palmer.
“Redeveloping properties along NE 28th is also complicated by the fact that car dealerships are platted on small lots, so owners don’t have enough land to meet Haltom City’s setback, landscaping and parking requirements,” said Palmer. As a practical matter, Palmer says, such requirements virtually eliminate redevelopment opportunities.
“As the city looks at its master plan, we would like to see the table of uses relaxed so that auto-related businesses are welcome in the industrial and commercial areas where they should be and we would like to work with the city to help make NE 28th less of an eyesore by finding a way to allow improvements to the dealerships and making other changes that will spur redevelopment on one of Haltom’s busiest roads,” said Palmer.
“A lot of Haltom City residents wish NE 28th Street looked better and wish it wasn’t so run down,” said Palmer. “I wish it were better, and I think it can be if the city is willing to consider a new approach,” said Palmer.
About Haltom United Business Alliance
Haltom United Business Alliance (HUBA) wants to give members of Haltom City’s business community an advocate and to keep those businesses informed about issues that affect them. They want to make sure Haltom City is business friendly and nurture small business growth, including automotive businesses, and bring more restaurants including breweries and a major grocery store to the city. New businesses and growth in existing businesses will create a stronger tax base which will allow the city to pay its first responders wages that are competitive with surrounding cities while improving Haltom City’s facilities and infrastructure. Anyone who owns a business in Haltom City is eligible to join. Dues are $20 annually or $50 for a lifetime membership, and membership is 100% confidential. To join, contact Joe Palmer at (682) 310-0591 or by email at [email protected]. Visit the group’s Facebook at Haltom United Business Alliance.
About Haltom City
Haltom City is a medium-sized city between Dallas and Fort Worth in Tarrant County, TX. The city is diverse and majority working class, with a growing population that is approximately 10% Asian-American and 45% Hispanic. Haltom City benefits from being only minutes from both DFW Airport and Downtown Fort Worth, with direct access to major highways including I-820 and SH-121. Small businesses that have historically provided products, services, and jobs to residents included a once thriving automotive industry. The city has seen a decline in small businesses, especially automotive businesses. The city is healthy financially, with median household income growing around 8% in the past year. Haltom City has opportunity for continued growth through undeveloped land and many vacant buildings, especially in major corridors close to the city’s center. The city has good staff and a city manager who is interested in seeing more businesses, but they can only do as directed by the council.
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