Local business group follows up on recommendations of third-party study it supplied to City Council & City Manager in July
HALTOM CITY, TX, December 02, 2021 /24-7PressRelease/ — Haltom United Business Alliance (HUBA) is a group of local small business owners who would like to see more small business start in Haltom City and more existing small business choose to expand or relocate to the city.
In July, HUBA delivered a report prepared by a third party to the members of Haltom City Council and other city officials. The report included several recommendations related to economic development in Haltom City and nearby cities.
The third study in the report involved examining proposed Haltom City changes to the Use Matrix for Auto Uses. A proposed ordinance before Haltom City Council would restrict those to just the industrial and heavy industrial parts of the city. The purpose of the study was to check the use tables for Fort Worth, Watauga, and North Richland Hills to determine if these cities have restrictions on auto uses like those under consideration in Haltom City.
Staff reported in the public hearing that the proposed changes, eliminating automotive uses in the commercial zones and only allowing them in the industrial districts with public hearings was consistent with surrounding cities, however HUBA determined that the surrounding cities had much more relaxed regulations for these businesses. The ordinance which passed, also made over 200 automotive businesses legal non conforming, exactly as the council had done with the car dealers almost 20 years ago. As contemplated by that earlier change, almost all the car dealers are gone, leaving lots of vacant properties along NE 28th Street.
The study found that Haltom City has a lower median household income than surrounding cities such as North Richland Hills, Watauga, and Fort Worth. This may point to a higher need for automotive services than in the surrounding cities because, on average, drivers in Haltom City are likely to keep their cars longer before trading in, and older cars require more auto services to remain on the road. Even for applications like tire stores, the lower median income could point to greater need because less affluent drivers are less likely to purchase lifetime balancing and more likely to skip routine maintenance, such as tire rotation because they are on a tighter budget.
There is little doubt that restricting these automotive uses to the industrial and heavy industrial zones of Haltom City will inhibit businesses in these use categories from opening in Haltom City, especially when nearby cities offer comparatively easier approval for the same use. A study of small business growth done by a Florida University’s business school found that permitting and land use issues were frequently mentioned by businesspeople as reasons for not opening new locations or expanding existing ones.
Haltom Council Member Charlie Roberts has attempted to quantify out how much the auto-related businesses affected by the proposed changes are contributing to the city’s sales tax revenues. He estimated that they account for 2.54 percent of the city’s total sales tax revenue directly and projected that for 2021 that will equate to $280,441. He noted that this figure does not include sales taxes collected on purchases these auto-related businesses make from auto parts stores or any property taxes the city collects from these types of businesses.
The study recommended that Haltom City staff gather information about each of the auto uses in the proposed amendment and how intense they typically are. The definitions in Haltom City’s zoning ordinance and the staff research on intensity should be used to help objectively determine where these uses should fit on Haltom’s use matrix. The practices of nearby cities should be considered tempered with an understanding that Haltom City differs from those cities because auto and auto-related businesses have historically been a bigger part of its economy and continue to be.
“After the recent changes, Haltom City has the most restrictive use matrix relative to nearby cities as far as auto shops and tire stores and that’s a mistake because auto related businesses provide services local people use and provide job opportunities for local blue-collar people,” said HUBA Communications Director Joe Palmer.
“More broadly, Haltom City Council should take a comprehensive look at the city’s use matrix and see where there are opportunities for Haltom City to become a little easier than neighboring cities to start a business of a particular kind,” said Palmer.
“For example, right now, dry cleaners are restricted to the industrial zones in Haltom City,” said Palmer. “A drop off only dry cleaner is not an intense use at all, and it should be welcome in most of the commercial zones,” 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 HUBAgrp@gmail.com. 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 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 come to Haltom City, but they can only do as directed by City Council.
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