City officials fail to consider the costs of NIMBY in terms of lower employment, less commerce and higher property taxes for city residents.

HALTOM CITY, TX, February 21, 2023 /24-7PressRelease/ — Make Haltom City Thrive Again recently posted a press release to its Facebook page that asked this provocative question: “How did Northeast 28th Street get so run down?”

It turns out that in 2002 Haltom City Council was seized with a desire to beatify that stretch of Haltom City by driving out the small car dealers. They overhauling zoning creating a special category for car dealers (C-5) and gave the dealers a short time to come in and request the change to the new zoning or their use would become legal, non-conforming, meaning the use could continue but that it didn’t fit the city’s vision for the area.

Most of the small car dealers didn’t come in to get rezoned, so they became legal non-conforming and could not make improvements to their properties if they stayed car dealerships.

Flash forward and the businesses became run down. Some even closed, the intent of the changes. Unfortunately, the small lot sizes and set back requirements meant that the former car lots could not be redeveloped easily, so they sat vacant, and the seeds were sown for the blight that is NE 28th Street today.

“Go back 50 years and Haltom City had a brand as an automotive city, a good place to go to buy or sell a car and a good place to take your car to have it serviced. NE 28th Street was a row of mostly tidy small car lots and mechanics with dealer’s licenses so they could fix and sell cars,” says Ron Sturgeon, a serial entrepreneur who started his first business, a VW repair shop, in Haltom City more than fifty years ago and currently leads the effort to Make Haltom City Thrive Again.

Commenting on the story on Facebook, Adrian Ali summarized what happened this way: “NIMBYists went out of their way to attack small businesses, and it backfired.”

More recently, Haltom City Council was again seized by the NIMBY impulse when it voted 6-1 to restrict new automotive businesses (car repair, battery sales, tire sales) to the industrial and heavy industrial zoned areas and to make all such businesses outside those zones legal non-conforming.

“Once again, the NIMBY impulse will drive out businesses, lessen choices for consumers in Haltom City, decrease employment in the city and eventually force the city to tax residents at a higher rate to make up lost business taxes,” says Sturgeon.

MakeHaltomCityThriveAgain, is an effort to help the Haltom City return to its former level of prosperity by making it the most business-friendly city in Tarrant County so that small businesses can be lured back to fill the many vacant commercial properties.

The initiative recently launched a billboard campaign to bring attention to the effort to return prosperity to the older parts of Haltom City. The first two billboards state: “Bring the Businesses Back” and “It’s Time for a Change” to make Haltom City thrive again. The third billboard in the series is clear: “We Need New Leaders.”

According to Sturgeon, Haltom City’s current leaders don’t seem to recognize that they are competing for small business start-ups with nearby cities. For Haltom City to attract businesses and “win” the competition, it must have a better value proposition overall. As it stands now, Haltom City’s time-consuming red tape and challenging use matrix, and NIMBY attitudes do more to discourage small businesses than to attract them.

“Because our current leaders don’t recognize the need to attract more small businesses, they have not taken the first steps to develop a plan to achieve that goal,” says Sturgeon. The Make Haltom City Thrive Again website and Facebook page include a detailed concept plan with many steps that cities that want to revitalize struggling older sections can take right away.

If you live or work in Haltom City, you have a vested interest in a brighter future for yourself and your community, you are invited to join the effort by following the Facebook page and sharing your thoughts and ideas with Ron to refine the concept plan.

If you or someone you know might be interested in running for Haltom City Council, contact Ron Sturgeon.

About Haltom City
Haltom City is a diverse, majority working-class city located between Dallas and Fort Worth in Tarrant County, TX. Haltom City is minutes from both the DFW Airport and Downtown Fort Worth with direct access to major highways including I-820 and SH-121. Due to an outdated and restrictive use matrix that discourages new business and deters growth, several areas of Haltom City have seen a decline in small businesses which provided goods and services and were a significant source of jobs, including the once-thriving automotive industry. However, Haltom City can reverse this trend and should prioritize development of inner-city land and vacant buildings, particularly in the major corridors close to the city’s center. The city is financially healthy with a capable manager and staff who would like to see diverse business development occur and need the support of the City Council to make it happen.

About Make Haltom City Thrive Again
The Make Haltom City Thrive Again website offers information and resources about its purpose and goals. For more on Sturgeon’s personal ideas and background, check out his book Keeping the Lights on Downtown in America’s Small Cities and watch the videos on his Facebook page. Ron is also the founder of the Haltom United Business Alliance (HUBA) which represents existing business interests in Haltom City and promotes growth of diverse businesses as well. HUBA is not a political action committee and does not endorse candidates. If/when Ron endorses candidates, he will do so on his own with the Make Haltom City Thrive Again organization.

For the original version of this press release, please visit here