Business Group Hopes Responses Will Guide Voters Who Want More Growth, More Jobs and More Business Opportunities in Haltom City

HALTOM CITY, TX, April 15, 2021 /24-7PressRelease/ — Haltom United Business Alliance (HUBA) is a group of Haltom City business owners who would like to see more growth, more opportunity and a more welcoming attitude toward existing and new small businesses in Haltom City, TX.

“The local business owners who make up our membership are keenly interested in the races for Haltom City Council for places 1 and 7 and the race for mayor that will be decided on May 1 as well as the uncontested race for place 2,” said HUBA Executive Director Drew Weakley, owner of All Star Pawn in Haltom City.

“We need candidates who understand business to hold at least a few of the seats on city council to add some diversity.” Weakley added that having a Hispanic councilperson would also be beneficial because the current council’s only Hispanic member is prevented from running by term limits and 45% of Haltom City is Hispanic.

A few weeks ago, HUBA sent an issues questionnaire to all candidates running for mayor and for seats on city council, and it has published the answers on its public Facebook page. It is also mailing the answers to voters.

Of all the candidates, only one answered. “We were not surprised that none of incumbents serving on city council or most of the candidates challenging them bothered to answer our questions,” said Weakley. “There seems to be a major disconnect between the Haltom City Council and the issues that matter to the city’s many small business owners,” added Weakley.

Ron Sturgeon, a HUBA member, said “We were surprised that the current mayor didn’t answer because we believe strong leadership is the cornerstone of making changes to work with the business community.”

Some of the supporters of current council members have even said that, because the owners don’t live in the city, they should not have a say in the rules the city sets that affect those businesses, noted Weakley. HUBA believes that small business owners are an important part of the community and that Haltom City’s business owners have a right to participate in debates about the policies that affect businesses.

“It’s a real disconnect and a lost opportunity for current council members to show they care about the issues that are affecting Haltom City businesses,” said Weakley.

Here are the responses of Nicholas Donias, the only candidate who provided answers:

Nicholas Donias Responses
Candidate for Haltom City Council Place 1
Questions for Candidates

1. Would you support sensible arrangements for liquor in Haltom City to promote more restaurants, breweries, and bars?

Response: I fully support sensible guidelines that help promote new opportunities for residents to enjoy activities within Haltom City, including encouraging development of restaurants and entertainment venues.

2. Would you support the use of existing code to allow accessory uses, such as food trucks in retail, commercial and industrial zoning districts?

Response: For food trucks, I agree that the first step that makes most sense would be to allow food trucks in retail, commercial, and industrial zoned districts and rely on existing ordinances/codes (such as parking, utilities, bathrooms, etc.) to direct how food trucks should be governed. If successful and if more businesses want to expand food truck operations, City Council can then look at expanding rules for allowing food trucks in different areas such as parks or building out a dedicated area. I believe that encouraging businesses that allows residents more options for services and products is a good thing.

3. City staff have the ability to make administrative decisions as allowed by codes. Would you allow staff to make more decisions without requiring a hearing or exception?

Response: I do agree that every decision should not need to go through a board or council vote if a request fits within guidelines of existing codes or ordinances. For requests that fall within the parameters of city codes, I’m supportive of empowering city staff and leadership to make decisions.

4. There have been many recent business closings and vacant lots, some as a result of the difficulty to open or expand businesses in Haltom City, mostly in the south and central districts. What steps would you like to see City Council take to address this issue?

Response: There has been great recent development in North Haltom City. I believe the next priority and focus should be on finding ways to support existing businesses in South Haltom City and reviewing zoning and codes that could promote revitalization of the area.

5. Would you support the revitalization of 28th street, if so, how? Would you allow automotive businesses to improve or expand their lots, knowing that the tiny platted lots aren’t very developable?

Response: As we continue to see growth in North Haltom City with residential developments and new commercial parks, City Council should begin to shift its focus on what it can do to support the revitalization of South Haltom City, including 28th Street. Some of the tools City Council could use is reviewing if zoning and other ordinances are too restrictive for future growth.

6. One lot administrative approval of plats could help streamline and decrease time and costs for platting. Would you support one lot administrative approval of plats?

Response: Like my experience in the federal government, I’m supportive of streamlining the permitting processes (where it makes sense) to help businesses get off the ground faster in order to deliver services and products to residents.

7. Full landscaping and irrigation systems can be a costly burden for some business owners given water shortages and long drought periods in the summer. Would you support irrigation free and drought tolerant landscaping ordinances?

Response: One group of voters recently asked me what steps a city could take in order to promote sustainable environmental practices. Greenery and landscaping help to make our city look beautiful yet given drought periods and the financial and environmental cost of irrigation, I would be open to alternative landscaping ordinances such as drought tolerant landscaping. As long as those ordinances remain in line with the intention of wanting/needing landscaping for lots.

8. Parking requirements for “retail” businesses remain the same, although the definition of “retail” has evolved over time. Would you support administrative decisions regarding exceptions for uses and parking requirements in lieu of lengthy hearings for businesses?

Response: In general, I’m supportive of an agile city council to keep up to date with trends and needs of retail businesses. I understand that a simple formula of parking per square footage may not fit every type of retail business if some space is allocated for storage, kitchens, or workspace. As long as changes in ordinances stay in line with the intention of the original ordinance. Overall, I believe in finding ways of cutting process and procedure where it makes sense.

9. For additional storage and expansion of inventory, shipping containers are an affordable alternative to constructing a new building. Would you support allowing the use of new/lightly used, painted, shipping containers for these purposes in commercial and industrial zoned areas, with appropriate controls?

Response: I would be supportive of allowing businesses to find ways to grow and expand, including allowing use of containers, as long as there are appropriate controls, such as not taking away from parking, making sure they are not unsightly, and ensuring they are located in the appropriately zoned areas.

10. Currently, the sign ordinance does not allow multi-tenant retail centers to have signs on both a side street plus a front street. Would you support amending the sign ordinance to make it easier for businesses to determine sensible sign placement for their businesses?

Response: I believe if there have been many exceptions made in the past for specific ordinances, I would be open to reviewing those exceptions to see if there would be a need to amend and update those ordinances.

11. Many businesses endure a lengthy process for change of use when getting a certificate of occupancy. How would you support improving or streamlining the change of use process for new businesses?

Response: Overall, I am supportive of finding ways to streamline process and procedure and cutting red tape where it makes sense.

12. Have you applied for a commercial permit, certificate of occupancy, or plat in the last 10 years?

Response: I have not had a recent experience applying for a commercial permit in Haltom City.

13. Have you ever owned a business? (does not include running a business)

Response: Yes, the business I ran and owned was a consulting business where myself and three other colleagues provided software coding and data analytic services. My business was part of building multiple technology startup companies from the ground up.

14. Are you open to reviewing the table of uses, to allow more uses in the zoning categories, so potential businesses don’t have to have extensive hearings for those allowed uses?

Response: Overall, I am supportive of finding ways to streamline process and procedure and cutting red tape where it makes sense.

“We want to thank Nick Donias for responding,” said Weakley. “HUBA doesn’t endorse candidates, but we do want to help our members and voters in Haltom City by sharing the answers we received,” said Weakley. In the upcoming special election, early voting runs from April 19 to April 27. Election Day is May 1, 2021. The election will decide who becomes mayor and who holds the seats on city council for places 1 and 7. Tiffany Chandler is unopposed for the seat for place 2. There is also a bond issue for the new police station on the ballot.

Follow HUBA on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Haltom-United-Business-Alliance-HUBA. To be added to HUBA’s email list or to share your ideas for making Haltom City more business friendly, contact Drew Weakley at [email protected] or (682) 310-0591.

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].com. 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 Haltom City Council.


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