Local business group follows up on recommendations of third-party study it supplied to Haltom City Council and City Manager in July
HALTOM CITY, TX, January 13, 2022 /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 of 2021, HUBA delivered a report prepared by a 3rd party to the members of Haltom City Council and other city officials. The report included a number of recommendations related to economic development in Haltom City and nearby cities.
The first study in the report involved examining the projects listed as in progress or completed on Haltom City’s economic development pages to see whether those projects required a Conditional Use Permit (CUP).
“The consultant who did the study found that, out of 19 commercial projects, only one, a self-storage, was likely done requiring a CUP,” said HUBA Communications Director Joe Palmer. The city later removed the new automotive businesses on the economic development page, as it passed an ordinance intended to limit or phase out such businesses.
“Getting a CUP requires a lot of time and effort on the part of the business owner,” said Palmer. “The process requires supplying all the needed items from the city’s 20-item CUP checklist a minimum of 20 days before the Planning & Zoning commission meeting where the CUP will be considered, at least one public hearing before Haltom City’s Planning & Zoning Board and at least two hearings before City Council before the applicant finds out which conditions that he or she must meet to get a permit for the intended use,” said Palmer.
“Our experience has been that Haltom City Council is likely to impose changes to the business’s operating plan, which is always troublesome to the applicant, and this council, in particular, isn’t afraid to micro manage. In a recent hearing, for example, the council told an applicant how many sinks would be required in food trucks operating at the business, even though Tarrant County already regulates food trucks just as it already regulates Haltom City’s restaurants,” added Palmer.
“People who have not started a small business before don’t know what two or three months of waiting, two or three months in limbo, does to an entrepreneur who is trying to sign a lease, hire people and do the other things to turn a business plan into an actual business,” said HUBA member Ron Sturgeon, a Haltom City business owner who has started, grown and sold several businesses to Fortune 500 companies in his nearly 50 years as a businessperson.
One of the recommendations the consultant made was that the city track inquiries from people wanting to start a new business in Haltom City or to relocate an existing one to Haltom City.
HUBA made a public information request of Haltom City and received a reply that indicated that the city does not gather any information about people who inquire about starting, expanding or relocating a business to Haltom City, said Palmer.
If we could determine how many people call or walk in and inquire about opening a business at a given location in the city, and whether that business would require a CUP or not, along with tracking the applications for certificates of occupancy, we could determine what percentage of those who inquire with the city end up open for business in Haltom City.
“With that data, we would be able to tell how much of a factor requiring a CUP is in slowing or stopping new business formation,” said Sturgeon. “Those numbers would help the city know what kinds of changes it should consider to the table or uses and how large an opportunity the city has to attract more small businesses from making those changes in the use matrix,” said Sturgeon.
HUBA estimates Haltom City gets at least four inquiries per week about starting or relocating a business to the city. While some of those inquiries are likely to come from businesses that Haltom City might not want, such as junk yards, cement plants, or sexually oriented businesses, most will be from businesspeople who want to start enterprises that would add to Haltom City,” said Sturgeon.
“If we could help the city get one new small business a week to start here by pairing the owner with a HUBA member who has negotiated the permitting process and use issues, we would have 250 more businesses in five years,” said Sturgeon, a local serial entrepreneur who started his first business in Haltom City approximately 50 years ago and still employs 15 in the city.
HUBA believes that a no-cost program of HUBA mentors for small business owners looking to come to Haltom City would get more business to open here, strengthen the city’s tax base, allowing the city to afford to pay higher wages to its first responders and meet its other obligations without increasing taxes on Haltom City residents.
“Certainly, Haltom City has had some success in bringing new small businesses in, and we applaud those,” said Palmer. In particular the city manager has been very successful at bringing large distribution businesses, who are not intimidated by having to get CUP’s.
“We may also be able to learn something useful, however, by looking to see where those that didn’t end up here dropped out of the development funnel and asking what happened and why,” added Palmer.
“HUBA would like to help Haltom City revitalize the corridors of the city that were formerly home to retailers but now have a lot of vacant buildings, such as NE 28th Street, Carson, Denton Highway and parts of Belknap,” 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 [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 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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