Cities should not use zoning rules to try to influence the economics of commerce

HALTOM CITY, TX, September 17, 2023 /24-7PressRelease/ — According to the Haltom United Business Alliance (HUBA), Haltom City appears to be using zoning rules as a weapon to try and influence the economics of commerce. Says HUBA Founder Ron Sturgeon, cities do not have the expertise, nor the right, to use zoning rules in such a manner. “As an example, a city might try to use their rules to, for instance, get more retail when retail is shrinking, because they are myopic about collecting more sales taxes instead of just getting more businesses to occupy older buildings. In the long run, this narrow-minded strategy will fail.”

Research has shown that a wide variety of small businesses is needed to build a successful urban neighborhood. Strong Towns a nonprofit that advocates for cities to be safe, livable, and inviting says, “These are not just retailers selling goods to end users, but a wide variety of commercial uses that make up the market of a city — dental surgery clinics, print shops, legal offices, smoke shops, shoe repairs, flooring supplies, custom jewelers, etc.”

In its article “The Case for Small Commercial Spaces,” Strong Towns claims that focusing on retail will favor the big chains and franchises and will essentially leave cities “with streetscapes of vacant storefronts” for an undetermined period of time. In urban areas, “small commercial spaces are important for incubating local businesses (that often do not need or cannot afford a larger space).

Incubating and supporting small businesses is important because they are they are the best job creators, they serve as a tool to reduce wealth inequality, and healthy capitalism requires new players constantly entering the market.”

Additionally, and contrary to popular belief, large developments and distribution centers are not the biggest source of sales tax revenue or the best drivers of employment. According to the United States Small Business Association, small businesses make up a whopping 99.7% of U.S. employer firms. Additionally, small businesses accounted for 64% of net new jobs created between the years of 1993 and 2011.

“The older parts of a town usually generate much more revenue per acre for a city than larger new developments. But having too many rules on business startups ends up discouraging all but the largest of businesses, while businesses with fewer resources and less money to invest choose locations in other cities where small business activity is encouraged and valued,” says local business owner Sturgeon.

In addition to his work with HUBA, Sturgeon is spearheading an effort to call attention to the problems in Haltom City and educate citizens about the need for change. More information about the project can be found on the “Make Haltom City Thrive Again” website. According to Sturgeon, anyone who lives or works in Haltom City and is hoping for a brighter future for themselves, their children, and their community should consider getting involved.

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.

About Haltom United Business Alliance
Haltom United Business Alliance (HUBA) is a group of business owners dedicated to representing existing business interests in Haltom City and promoting the growth of diverse businesses as well. Innovative strategies are needed to create a strong tax base and enhance quality of life for residents, city employees, and business owners. All Haltom City business owners are eligible to join HUBA. For more information, contact Joe Palmer at (682) 310-0591 or by email at or visit the group’s Facebook page at Haltom United Business Alliance.

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