Pro-growth business group seeks fast track for one-lot plats and changes to rules for shipping containers, building signs and decorative murals
HALTOM CITY, TX, June 24, 2021 /24-7PressRelease/ — Haltom United Business Alliance (HUBA) is a group of local small business owners working to promote growth in Haltom City and to make Haltom City more business friendly.
“HUBA has proposed a comprehensive review of all Haltom City ordinances to weed out those rules that impede new businesses from coming to Haltom City and hamper the growth of the small- and medium-sized businesses that are already here,” said HUBA Executive Director Drew Weakley, owner of All Star Pawn in Haltom City.
“Right now, one local rule that slows development is the requirement for single lot plats to be approved by Haltom City Council at a public hearing,” said Weakley. “The requirement adds weeks to the timeline of any development project in the city, and it serves no real purpose. This is because Haltom City’s Planning and Zoning Department has already determined that the proposed plat conforms to the rules, and since state law requires that the city uphold the Planning and Zoning Department’s approval in these cases, it would make sense for the plat to be issued following that administrative approval, rather than weeks later as a result of a formality,” said Weakley.
“Many other cities allow the planning and zoning departments to approve these changes administratively, and that’s what Haltom City should do,” said Weakly.
HUBA is also asking the city to revise existing ordinances to allow shipping containers to be used for storage in commercial and industrial areas of the city and, with proper screening, in light commercial and retail areas.
“In some cases, a small business needs more space to grow but does not have the option to build another building,” said HUBA Member and Tarrant County real estate developer Ron Sturgeon. “Shipping containers provide a low-cost solution that can help a business better manage inventory and expand,” he added.
“Haltom City should set some reasonable rules, such as requiring the containers be in good repair and free from peeling or faded paint,” said Sturgeon. “They should have to be kept locked, never allowed to be lived in and lighting and electric should require a permit,” said Sturgeon. The city could also require that the containers not impede drainage or interfere with parking and have a fire inspection done on them, according to Sturgeon. Pictured above is a shipping container in a nearby community being used for extra storage by an upscale restaurant with valet parking.
A third change that the members of HUBA would like to see has to do with signs on building that have frontage on two streets. “As it is right now, a business that is surrounded by other businesses and has frontage on two streets cannot put a sign both on the front and the back or the front and the side of their building without first getting a variance, a process that can take months and requires a public hearing,” said Weakley.
“We would like to see that changed so that, for instance, a Subway restaurant can have signs on both sides of the building when they both face streets, and the adjoining area is not zoned residential without having to get a variance,” said Weakley.
The fourth area where HUBA would like to see some changes relates to murals. Currently, according to Weakley, murals on the sides of Haltom City businesses are considered signs and subject to the city’s sign ordinance. “In many cases, Haltom businesses don’t do decorative murals because the requirements are so cumbersome,” said Weakley.
Many other cities in the area allow murals that do not contain lettering, words, or numbers and do not promote anything,” said Weakley. “If we were to do the same here, we would create some new opportunities for artists and add beauty and visual interest to Haltom City streets,” said Weakley.
HUBA is committed to the goal of making it easier for new businesses to come to Haltom City and provide goods and services that local people want. HUBA looks forward to working with the city to bring about these changes and others to make Haltom City more business friendly.
“We would like to see Haltom City Council join with HUBA and other stakeholders to do a comprehensive review of current ordinances to find other ways to make the city more business friendly and spur development that will create new jobs and opportunities for the people of Haltom City,” said Weakley.
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 Drew Weakley 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 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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