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"It has gotten to a point where only large developers can cope with what it takes to do a change of use and get a certificate of occupancy." ---HUBA Founder Ron Sturgeon
HALTOM CITY, TX, July 13, 2022 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Everyone agrees that the rules that govern building and development and land use are extremely complex in American cities. What some people don't realize is the complexity has reached a point where many owners of small businesses don't have the money, time, energy, or experience to navigate a system that requires reems of paperwork and public hearings just to open or expand a business.
"It has gotten to a point where only large developers can cope with what it takes to do a change of use and get a certificate of occupancy," said Haltom United Business Alliance Founder Ron Sturgeon, a commercial real estate developer with hundreds of small business tenants.
"Only large developers can get through the maze, and they build more strip centers or commercial centers to lease out. Cities that want these developments often end up offering incentives or even tax abatements," said Sturgeon.
"The average small businessperson just can't do it, so Haltom City is full of single-use buildings that are boarded up because the change of use requires these buildings to be brought up to code, including adding expensive sprinkler systems, making it hard to see a scenario where the buildings will ever be occupied again," said Sturgeon.
"The retail giants love it because small operators are squeezed out," said Sturgeon. There is some hope, however, according to Sturgeon. Some innovative cities are choosing form-based, rather than use based, codes, including Mansfield, that then got 4 new projects within months of the new codes in its older downtown.
HUBA Communications Director Joe Palmer said, "It's important that we recognize that the southern and central parts of Haltom City are in decline, and we need to make plans and execute them as soon as possible to bring small businesses back and create the prosperity that these areas once enjoyed."
The city has proposed a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone, a TIRZ, but as the city's own consultant said, a TIRZ can only pay for public improvements. Typically, TIRZ funds end up being spent to help a few large developers bring in utilities or make other public improvements so they can develop a piece of property. A TIRZ has limited value for helping South and Central Haltom City because TIRZ funds cannot pay for fixing up an older building so that a business could locate there.
Sturgeon shared two additional thoughts: "In Haltom City, the city council isn't even ready to recognize that something needs to be done and until they do that, they can't make a plan or consider the plan the business community gave them." Sturgeon added, "They don't seem to grasp that Haltom City has to be better than the other cities because this is a serious competition to see who is going to get the most new businesses."
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.
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 nurtures 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. HUBA believes that the southern and central parts of the city need a revitalization plan, to prevent further degradation in those areas, and wants that to happen before the inner-city experiences increased crime and more blight. As retail and office uses are in decline, its more critical than ever to attract new businesses. They believe that such a plan requires a strong relationship and support of the business community. 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 Palmer at (682) 310-0591 or by email at [email protected]. Visit the group's Facebook at Haltom United Business Alliance.
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