Overlay districts in Haltom City’s hardest hit areas with relaxed parking minimums will make it easier for the city to compete for small business startups

HALTOM CITY, TX, September 26, 2023 /24-7PressRelease/ — The south and central corridors of Haltom City need attention now. Decades of decline have resulted in vacant buildings, decreased property values, and an increase in crime.

Haltom City is not alone. Cities across North America have found themselves in similar circumstances due to a variety of forces that ultimately result in decline. There is much to be learned from the successes and failures of similar cities across the continent.

Over the past two years, the Haltom United Business Alliance (HUBA), a local organization that advocates for the interests of Haltom City’s business community, has brought a number of ideas to the attention of the council. One such idea is to do away with outdated parking minimums and enact Open Option Parking in the city’s south and central areas, specifically along older corridors such as Denton Highway, NE 28th Street, Carson and Belknap.

The idea of relaxing outdated parking minimums is one that has been gaining momentum for several years across the continent. Time and again, research has shown that excessive parking requirements are a costly deterrent to inner city revitalization, both in terms of housing and in terms of attracting new small business startups.

A recent article in The Guardian entitled “Shifting gears: why US cities are falling out of love with the parking lot” reports that a number of cities have seen “a surge in activity to transform previously derelict buildings into shops, apartments and restaurants. Developers previously saw such work as unviable due to the requirement to build large lots for car parking, in many cases several times larger than the building itself.”

Strong Towns, a non-profit that works to help cities revitalize, stated “America has a parking problem in their article, Every City Should Abolish Its Minimum Parking Requirements. Has Yours?, which aims to make the case. Strong Towns also has a YouTube webcast entitled How to Get Rid of Parking Minimums. The video goes into detail about the process used by the City of Edmonton to transform their outdated parking rules to spur growth. The process, which took about two years from start to finish, involved three key steps.

1. Talking the Talk involved surveying residents and business owners for initial thoughts on the concept and looking at economics, abundance of parking, availability of public transit, walkability of certain areas, and so on.
2. Reality Check included a review of existing standards (and the reasons for them at the time they were adopted), a detailed study of actual developments and parking usage at peak times, and creation of a plan taking into account demographics, geography, and business and housing types.
3. Asking It Right involved recognizing the tradeoff inherent in parking and going back to the community to get buy-in for the new concept of open option parking.

Haltom City needs fresh ideas and out-of-the-box thinking to attract more small businesses to the older parts of Haltom City. It is time to get started on a plan to make things happen. Overlay districts with relaxed parking minimums is just one of many ideas that should be taken up by the Haltom City Council.

“A growing number of cities across North America are abolishing parking minimums to better compete for the finite number of small business startups,” said HUBA Communications Director Joe Palmer. “Haltom City should embrace this trend to help attract more small businesses back to South and Central Haltom City,” Palmer added.

About Haltom United Business Alliance
Haltom United Business Alliance (HUBA) is a group of business owners dedicated to making Haltom City the most business-friendly city in Tarrant County. HUBA recognizes the contributions of small business owners to community and their unique role in providing jobs, goods and services, and greater choice to the people of Haltom City. HUBA believes innovative strategies are needed to create a strong business tax base to allow residential tax reductions. All Haltom City business owners are eligible to join HUBA. For more information, contact Joe Palmer at (682) 310-0591 or by email at [email protected] or visit the group’s Facebook page at Haltom United Business Alliance.

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