City seeks to close as many auto repair shops & tire shops & other auto businesses just as it sought to close car dealerships on NE 28th Street in 2003
HALTOM CITY, TX, November 16, 2021 /24-7PressRelease/ — Haltom City’s official economic development web page touts the new businesses in the city. The page used to show a new auto repair shop that had recently opened in Haltom City’s industrial district as well as several new national auto parts chain stores.
However, since the city passed an amendment to the use table that barred new auto shops and tire stores from opening anywhere in Haltom City commercially zoned areas and made the approximately 200 auto repair shops presently operating in the city legal non-conforming, the city has removed the repair shop and parts stores from its page.
“The message is clear,” said Haltom United Business Alliance Communications Director Joe Palmer. “Council is telling Haltom City residents to find a garage or tire shop in North Richland Hills, Fort Worth, or another nearby community where such uses are still permitted and where the city has not arbitrarily chosen to limit the number of garages or tire stores,” said Palmer.
Haltom United Business Alliance is a group of local business owners who believe that free markets are the best way to assure a city has the proper number of businesses of a particular kind.
“Market competition attracts good businesses, rewards efficiency, and drives prices down for customers. It also adequately discourages the establishing of too many of the same kind of business too close together unless the market supports it,” said Palmer, “Whether it is coffee shops, restaurants, Wal-Marts, or auto repair shops, the market works well in setting the right number for an area. It’s simple; if there aren’t enough customers, the businesses don’t come, and the funny thing about entrepreneurs is that they are generally pretty good at deciding if there is too much competition before they open.
“As far as we know, few of the current members of Haltom City Council have experience in owning a business, and so they perhaps have a challenging time understanding the true causes of Haltom City’s glut of empty commercial space,” said Palmer.
“The current council has basically said that auto shops and tire shops are the worst or nearly the worst kind of businesses a city can have by restricting new ones to areas with M1 (industrial) or M2 (heavy industrial) zoning and requiring that they get a conditional use permit, a process that is expensive and takes many months to complete, even to open there,” said Palmer.
“Some of the members of Haltom City Council have lost touch with the many blue collar people who live here,” said HUBA Member and longtime business owner Ron Sturgeon
“These folks are keeping their cars longer than people in areas like Southlake and Highland Park, and so they naturally are going to need parts stores and repair shops in their city,” said Sturgeon. “For them, these businesses are not only a source of goods and services, but they are also an important source of job opportunities,” said Sturgeon.
“The business no-fly zone in Haltom City that devastated car businesses along Northeast 28th Street in 2003 has been extended to hurt even more types of businesses,” Palmer said. “Of course, the original architects of this are long gone, but the empty lots, vacant buildings, and run-down businesses that they produced are a daily part of the lives of people who drive that stretch,” said Palmer. “To add insult to injury, the city is discussing revitalization plans for the city, but has excluded NE28th Street, the run-down corridor their policies created.”
“Not long ago, someone tried to rent part of the only retail space I own in Haltom City. The large chain’s goal was to open a shop to sell car stereos, truck accessories, trailer hitches, and similar products,” said Sturgeon. “They chose my site because it had good traffic and lots of parking. City staff had to say no to the proposed use based on Haltom City’s outdated and restrictive use matrix. The store opened in North Richland Hills because Haltom City said no to the use, noted Sturgeon.
“Do Haltom City residents really need to be protected from auto accessory stores?” asked Sturgeon.
“Even opening a dry cleaner in all but one of the city’s commercial zones takes rounds of public hearings and months and months because a conditional use permit must be secured,” said Palmer.
HUBA believes that the city should take a comprehensive look at the use matrix to give Haltom City a competitive advantage over nearby cities in the effort to bring in many kinds of small businesses, especially to the older buildings in South and Central Haltom where vacancy rates are high. The group of local business owners presented the council with a proposed new matrix, but it was dismissed.
“The world has changed; Reaction to the pandemic has accelerated business failures, people shop differently, fewer people go to an office, and the retail that once was a staple of Haltom City’s main corridors will probably never come back,” said Palmer.
“In the midst of all that, HUBA is struggling with a Haltom City Council that has virtually no business experience and is determined to expand disastrous policies at a time when it should be reversing them,” said Palmer.
About Haltom United Business Alliance
Haltom United Business Alliance (HUBA) wants to make sure Haltom City is business friendly and to nurture small business growth, including automotive businesses. HUBA would also like to see more restaurants including breweries and a major grocery store come to Haltom City. HUBA is focused on strengthening the business tax base in Haltom City so that Haltom residents do not face tax increases. HUBA is also focused on reducing regulations and red tape that slow new business formation in Haltom City or impede the growth of Haltom City’s existing small businesses. HUBA supports having at least two members of Haltom City Council who have owned small businesses and would like to see greater representation for members of Haltom City’s Hispanic community on City Council. Although HUBA does not endorse candidates, HUBA believes that voters benefit from having a variety of qualified candidates to choose from. If you are interested in running for Haltom City Council and would like to discuss your vision for Haltom City, please contact Joe Palmer. Anyone who owns a business in Haltom City is eligible to join HUBA. Dues are $20 annually or $50 for a lifetime membership, and membership is 100% confidential. To join, contact Joe 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 and are a vital part of the city’s economy. Haltom City has an 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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