Business Alliance urges Haltom City Council to adopt similar Form-Based codes for beleaguered areas of Haltom City

HALTOM CITY, TX, July 07, 2023 /24-7PressRelease/ — In the recently released Second Edition of Keeping the Lights on Downtown in America’s Small Cities, authors Gregory Smith and Ron Sturgeon dedicate an entire chapter to the successful use of form-based codes in the city of Mansfield, Texas.

Working with an independent consultant, Mansfield’s City Council adopted a “downtown redevelopment strategy” which laid out its concurrent goals of revitalizing inner city areas while preserving historical culture, commerce, and lifestyle. In 2021, the Council unanimously approved a new form-based code for more than 200 acres. According to Jason Alexander, Director of Planning, the new code reflects the city’s vision of “a collection of walkable, mixed-use, inclusive, and compact development patterns to establish a foundation for the present and a floor for the future… to create rich environments where distinct economic, physical, social infrastructure can be curated.”

One of the most important aspects of the new code is that it makes the review and approval process more hospitable to developers, business owners, and investors. By consolidating almost 20 disparate codes into one, simplifying requirements for signage, land use, and architectural design, and building in some flexibility for reasonable exceptions, developers and existing property owners can be confident that their project won’t be bogged down by lengthy and costly red tape.

For those who want to learn more about Form-Based Codes and their impact in Mansfield, Texas, be sure to check out the newly released 2nd edition of Keeping the Lights on Downtown. The updated book, which is 255 pages in total, has seven new chapters including “Form-Based Codes: What They Are and Why Cities Should Consider Adopting Them” written by Architect and Arlington Texas City Councilwoman Rebecca Boxall, and “A Form-Based Code Success Story: Mansfield, Texas.”

Within 6 months, the city was working on proposals to revive the aging part of town from developers, business and tenants.

As evidenced by the subtitle of the book: The Critical Role Small Businesses Play in Bringing Back Jobs & Prosperity, co-author Ron Sturgeon believes that the growth and success of small businesses is the key to revitalizing inner city areas. Several years ago, Sturgeon founded the Haltom United Business Alliance (HUBA), a group that is dedicated to representing existing business interests in Haltom City and promoting revitalization of inner city areas. Says HUBA Communications Director Joe Palmer, “Small cities interested in the kind of growth that makes them stronger should be paying attention to what is happening in Mansfield, Texas, and should be open to the idea of adopting reforms like form-based codes.”

In 2022, Sturgeon launched MakeHaltomCityThriveAgain, a campaign aimed at bringing attention to issues in Haltom City. “The leaders in small cities need to recognize that they are in competition with nearby cities to attract and keep small businesses. They need to think strategically about how to win that competition. That includes taking steps like building a brand for the city and examining the city’s table of uses to find areas where the city can create advantages over its neighbors.” said Sturgeon.

As part of the MakeHaltomCityThriveAgain campaign, Sturgeon will send a free copy of the book to any Haltom City resident or business owner just for asking. “I am offering the new book, the second edition, to Haltom City residents who are interested in a brighter future for Haltom City that includes more jobs, more choices of goods and services and more small businesses filling spaces that are vacant right now in South and Central Haltom City.” A free copy of the book can be obtained by sending your name and address to Ron Sturgeon at [email protected].

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 in the industrial districts, and bring more restaurants including breweries and eventually 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, it’s 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.

About Make Haltom City Thrive Again
The Make Haltom City Thrive Again is a movement to return prosperity to the older parts of South and Central Haltom City by luring the small businesses that have left over the past decades back to Haltom City. A vibrant business community not only allows for greater employment and choice of goods and services, but also can ease the tax burden on residents. The movement is led by local entrepreneur and business owner Ron Sturgeon. For more on Sturgeon’s 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. HUBA is not a political action committee and does not endorse candidates. If/when Ron endorses candidates, he will do so on his own via the Make Haltom City Thrive Again organization.

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