Local business group delivers recommended changes to Haltom City’s table of uses and advises city to focus on service and commercial businesses, rather than retail
HALTOM CITY, TX, July 13, 2021 /24-7PressRelease/ — “Retail is on the way out,” said Joe Palmer, Communications Director for Haltom United Business Alliance, a group of local business owners focused on bringing more prosperity and opportunity to all of Haltom City.
“Stein Mart is gone; GNC is closing hundreds of stores; JC Penney’s is shrinking. Even before Covid, the retail sector in the US has been declining, and it will continue to do so because people have found new ways to shop,” said Palmer.
Palmer suggested that Haltom City focus on attracting small businesses in the commercial and service sectors, rather than looking for retailers, to fill vacancies in South and Central Haltom and invited Haltom City leaders to collaborate with HUBA to create a plan to achieve that goal. As part of that plan, HUBA has sent the city a proposed set of revisions to its Table of Uses, and a HUBA spokesperson will be asking Haltom City Council for public hearings on the proposed changes.
“Drive Belknap, NE 28th St, Denton Highway inside loop 820 or Carson Street and you will see a number of vacant buildings that we want to help fill with new small businesses,” said Palmer.
“Imagine if we could get two or three additional small businesses to open in Central and South Haltom City every month for the next three or four years,” said Palmer. “A hundred new small businesses in the heart of Haltom would create new jobs for a lot of local people and give them chances to buy goods and services they want and need without driving to nearby communities,” added Palmer.
“A lot of city leaders are excited about the new houses being built and the new businesses opening on the north side of Haltom City, and there is a lot to celebrate, but there is also a great opportunity to revitalize South and Central Haltom by welcoming smaller enterprises,” said HUBA Member Ron Sturgeon, a local real estate developer and commercial landlord who started his first business in Haltom City almost 50 years ago and employs 8 at his office in the city.
Roy Sullins, another local developer, has been tearing down old houses on Carson Street and building handsome commercial buildings that are suitable for service and other kinds of small businesses, including automotive uses. However, he recently admitted to a HUBA member that he has become discouraged in his efforts to clean up the corridor because many of the prospects for his spaces need to get conditional use permits to open and that takes more time and effort than many of them are willing to put forth.
It’s been hard for Sullins to get local commercial realtors to even show his available spaces because they know that they won’t earn commissions unless the business can get open and that’s harder to get done in Haltom City than in surrounding communities, especially if the business isn’t a permitted use Sullins told a HUBA member.
In 2019, a Haltom City resident wanted to open a commercial amusement business, an arcade, because she was tired of taking her kids to such a business in Keller. She was surprised to learn that an arcade isn’t a permitted use in Haltom City, even in the heavy commercial or industrial zoning districts. She chose not to open because of all the uncertainties surrounding approval.
“There are a lot of business categories that are not permitted uses,” said HUBA Executive Director Drew Weakley. Car washes, tire and battery stores, even a dry cleaner isn’t a permitted use, even in the heaviest commercial zones, he added.
“Would you like to buy a hot tub, buy some ceramic tile from a showroom/warehouse, or pick up some swimming pool supplies or go to a car detail shop? None of these is a permitted use, even in the heaviest commercial zones in Haltom City,” added Weakley.
HUBA believes that having such a restrictive table of permitted uses makes it hard for smaller businesses to get started in Haltom City because they don’t have the time, expertise and resources to cope with months of delays and rounds of public hearings. HUBA has proposed a set of changes to the table (see PDF). The proposed changes have also been posted on HUBA’s Facebook page.
“Nearly all the new businesses that open in Haltom City are permitted uses or larger companies with substantial resources to devote to navigating the process of opening,” said Weakley.
HUBA believes that smaller businesses are most likely to fill the older, smaller buildings in central and south Haltom City and wants to help the city develop and a plan that will get those businesses opened here, rather than in other nearby communities.
HUBA Executive Director Drew Weakley added that he is looking forward to working with the city and the new members of City Council to make Haltom City the thriving small business hub that it once was and can be again.
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 Drew Weakley 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 and has recently elected several new members to its city council.
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