PAC CEO Jayson Steele says firefighters don’t want them
HALTOM CITY, TX, November 02, 2021 /24-7PressRelease/ — Haltom City recently passed an ordinance limiting future automobile repair businesses to parts of Haltom City with industrial or heavy industrial zoning and only allowing them to open there after they get a conditional use permit (CUP), a process that requires several public hearings and can take many months to complete.
“There are about 200 automotive shops in the city, according to city records, and most became legal non-conforming under the new ordinance, a status that means the use remains legal but no longer conforms to the city’s plan for the area. The business owners in these cases generally cannot get permits to rebuild in the event of a disaster or to expand under the current use. These conditions lower the value of the real estate and the business,” said Haltom United Business Alliance Member Ron Sturgeon, a local business owner and real estate developer.
HUBA represents small businesses of all kinds in Haltom City and believes that with the central and southern corridors of Haltom City in a state of decline with many empty buildings, the Haltom City Council should be making it easier, rather than harder, for small businesses to open in the city.
Jayson Steele, CEO of the Haltom City Fire Political Action Committee, in a recent Facebook post that follows this release stated: “What firemen know is what they see on the streets every day, and they don’t see the need for one more automotive repair shop.” In the Facebook thread where this post appeared, HUBA had outlined its concerns about the decline of South and Central Haltom City and the many vacant buildings and HUBA had argued that the city should be making it easier for small businesses to come to Haltom City and open, to build a stronger business tax base and stop the blight.
Current members of Haltom City Council have said several times that they believe that too many businesses of a particular kind cause too much competition. The Haltom City Council has supported limiting small businesses to protect established businesses from new competitors of the same kind.
HUBA believes that Haltom City Council should not try to manage competition between businesses in Haltom City. “Free market competition will drive innovation and bring more small businesses to the city,” according to HUBA Communications Director Joe Palmer.
HUBA believes Haltom City Manager Rex Phelps has a great plan to bring more large businesses to the north part of the city, and there is talk of a Tax Incremental Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) for other corridors. HUBA believes that, although a TIRZ district is helpful, it won’t assist small businesses like dry cleaners, small specialty retail and service business, typically mom-and-pop businesses, and so has limited value in spurring new small businesses in Haltom City.
Many residents want a large new grocery store and other larger businesses, presumably to make the declining areas more attractive and attract more businesses. HUBA believes such businesses are highly unlikely to locate in the areas of Haltom City that have high vacancies and run-down empty properties, and that the focus should be on revitalizing those parts of town to pull them from the edge of blight as the city ages. Ron Sturgeon, a founding member of HUBA, has pledged $250,000 to help investment in a grocery store for Haltom City.
“A lot of great things are happening on the North side of Haltom City, but there are still issues when small businesses like dry cleaners can’t open in most areas of Haltom City without first going through the process of getting a CUP and 3 public hearings,” added Sturgeon.
“I have almost 50 years of business experience and have opened a lot of businesses in Haltom City and elsewhere. Getting a Conditional Use Permit approved for an event center I own in Haltom City took me 18 months including the time to get all the way to having the certificate of occupancy,” said Sturgeon.
Sturgeon believes that very few small businesses can endure such a timeline to get a new business open. To be fair, he says, the council was concerned about food trucks serving the facility, which seemed odd to Sturgeon because not a single resident raised an objection to them, and members of Haltom City Council frequently say that they want more entertainment and dining options in the city.
HUBA believes that having more members of Haltom City Council who have business ownership experience and who have been through the process of opening a business in the city would help. “We would like to find one or two local business owners who are willing to run for Haltom City Council to add that perspective,” said Palmer.
“Some people opposed to HUBA have tried to demonize the group for wanting a more business friendly council, but our interests aren’t any different than others who want change, whether it be a push for lower taxes or better streets.” The insular nature of the current Haltom City Council and its resistance to free market ideas is part of the reason we have so many vacant commercial properties here and part of the reason local business people felt compelled to form HUBA,” said Palmer.
“If you own a small business in Haltom City and would consider running for Haltom City Council, HUBA would like to hear from you,” 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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