A growing number of cities have seen dramatic results using form-based codes

HALTOM CITY, TX, December 08, 2023 /24-7PressRelease/ — In 2021, the Haltom United Business Alliance (HUBA) submitted a draft Concept Plan to the City Council for its consideration, including a suggestion that the city adopt form-based codes in beleaguered areas, particularly along main corridors such as Denton Highway, Carson, NE 28th Street and Belknap. Having received no response from the city to date, HUBA continues to advocate for needed changes. Make Haltom City Thrive Again (MHCTA) has released a series of videos to call attention to the issues and educate Haltom City citizens about the need for change.

In one of the videos, HUBA founder Ron Sturgeon explains the downsides of current zoning codes and the advantages of form-based codes. Sturgeon is quick to point out that his comments are not just opinions but are based on a great deal of research. He specifically recommends two books on the subject, Strong Towns: A Bottom-Up Revolution to Rebuild American Prosperity and Arbitrary Lines: How Zoning Broke the American City and How to Fix It.

So what is Form-Based Zoning? According to Wikipedia, “Form-Based Codes are a new response to the modern challenges of urban sprawl, deterioration of historic neighborhoods, and neglect of pedestrian safety in new development.” As explained by Ron, cities essentially decide what an area should look like rather than how exactly it should be used. The way current codes work in Haltom City, commercial zoning is divided into 5 distinct uses. The result of the excessive distinctions is that a dance studio can’t move in next to a restaurant or a plumbing supply store without going through time-consuming and costly inspections and approvals. All too often, this obstacle causes investors to look at (and ultimately choose) a neighboring city that has codes and policies designed to encourage and welcome small businesses.

Form based codes make switching from one use to another much easier since they focus on the form of the building, rather than on its particular use.

Ron recently co-authored a new book: Keeping the Lights on Downtown in America’s Small Cities – The Critical Role Small Businesses Play in Bringing Back Jobs & Prosperity. The book includes a chapter written by Architect Rebecca Boxall called “Form-Based Codes: What They Are and Why Cities Should Consider Adopting Them” and has another chapter pointing out the success of Mansfield Texas, which adopted a “downtown redevelopment strategy” after hiring an independent consultant. Within a few short months of implementing form-based codes in certain areas, Mansfield found itself working on a host of new projects that balanced its twin objectives of fostering growth and preserving the character of historic Mansfield.

As part of the Make Haltom City Thrive Again campaign, Sturgeon has offered to send a free autographed copy of the book to Haltom City residents or business owners who request one at [email protected]. While you’re waiting for the book to arrive, be sure to check out the video series on the MHCTA website.

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
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.

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.

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