Will TX follow FL and the other cities that have spurred redevelopment of older properties by axing parking mandates?

HALTOM CITY, TX, March 26, 2024 /24-7PressRelease/ — The elimination of parking mandates is a fast-growing trend in cities and towns across America. Time and time again, local leaders have realized that decades-old parking regulations are a stumbling block when it comes to new construction and the renovation and repurposing of older properties.

An American nonprofit called Strong Towns recently published an article entitled “Campaign to Eliminate Parking Mandates Coming to Florida Legislature.” According to the article, while Florida struggles to respond to recent population growth, parking mandates have increasingly become a deterrent to new development, especially in urban areas.

Nelson Stabile, president of the Builders Association of South Florida, said that the cost of parking requirements is particularly steep in cities like Miami where each space can add as much as $30,000 to a construction project. “If you’re in an urban setting, and you have to build structured parking, it becomes cost prohibitive, and that just adds on to the cost of housing.” In his opinion, a statewide approach would provide clarity and make it easier to provide affordable housing for all types of communities. He and other stakeholders hope the proposal will continue to gain support as it moves through the legislature in the months ahead.

Recently, Dallas began considering abolishing parking requirements, and Austin has banned them.

In Haltom City, a similar situation exists. In the south and central areas of the city where commercial vacancies are on the rise, city regulations seem to deter, rather than encourage, investment. Time and again, investors have considered buying and renovating an abandoned building, only to change their mind once they calculate costs to comply with mandated parking minimums and other city-required upgrades. These same laws are a problem for small business start-ups looking to lease space rather than buy as well. Azle recently turned down a proposed redevelopment of a 50-year-old building that has been vacant 10 years because of parking restrictions.

For the past several years, the Haltom United Business Alliance (HUBA) has been asking city leadership to create a Concept Plan to help turn things around. A key component of such a plan would be to create an overlay district (specifically along the main corridors of Belknap, Carson, NE28th and Denton Highway) where parking minimums do not apply. Leaving the decision to individual property or business owners would help spur growth along these older corridors one business at a time.

Due to the inaction of the city council, HUBA founder Ron Sturgeon has launched a campaign called MakeHaltomCityThriveAgain in order to educate citizens and point out the urgent need for council members who will dedicate themselves to the issues at hand. Realtor Carmelina Carrillo agrees. “There are a lot of empty buildings, dragging our businesses out of our city… We could have been a more productive city as we are so close to downtown and freeways, but someone needs to be removed or that someone needs to open their eyes and see. As a realtor, I can tell how many have decided to go just next door to Fort Worth because of the restrictions.” Also, as about 500 people a day move into the DFW metroplex, Haltom City’s population is actually declining since the 2020 census.

In Florida, circulating the draft is just the first step. But with a growing need for affordable housing in Florida cities, many people feel that conditions are right for the legislation to move forward. If and when such a law is enacted, the Sunshine State’s legislature will join a long list of forward-thinking government leaders who have recognized the advantage of such a change. Hopefully, Haltom City’s current (or future) leadership will follow suit.

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
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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