City denies parking variance blocking the way to remodel a building vacant for a decade.

HALTOM CITY, TX, March 15, 2024 /24-7PressRelease/ — Salon and Spa Galleria, a 22-location chain leasing salon suites to independent beauty professionals, thought it had found a perfect location for its 23th location. At a cost of well over $1 million, the company planned to remodel the old Skateland, right on the main drag in Azle, along with banks, fast-food places and other redeveloped lots.

They spent $75,000 on interior demolition and engineered plans that included an all-new 22′ engineered facade and submitted everything to the City of Azle. At the last minute, the city decided Salon and Spa Galleria needed a parking variance to allow more parking spaces. The planning director said he didn’t think getting the variance would be a problem because the city wanted to see the 60-year-old building remodeled and preferred that to new construction. Also, the Salon had reached a written agreement with the church next door to share parking.

The hearing seemed to be going well, until one member of the Zoning Board of Adjustment registered his concerns. He moved to deny the request, and with all the members not present, there wasn’t enough support to get the variance approved.

Oddly, another skate rink or similar venue could open without new parking, as the site is legal non-conforming. The site met all the legal requirements for a parking variance, including being legal non-conforming, and the city has granted other variances many times, but for whatever reason, the Zoning Board of Adjustment did not want this use.

This story is typical of what happens in many cities. The salon chain was shocked, but it had no choice. It has since put the property up for sale. A simple Google search for “abolish parking minimums” shows how many cities are recognizing the trend and acting so they can bring back employment, goods and services as well as increased taxes from their old assets.

In Dallas, an entrepreneur wanted to open a coffee shop but needed a variance for parking. Strong Towns tells the full story of the ordeal the owner went through trying to convert a remodeled house zoned commercial into a coffee shop and community space.

The owner German Sierra had to document community support for his venture, had to pay thousands of dollars for several traffic studies to try to disprove the need for parking. Finally, German had to demolish a garage that he planned to use for storage to reduce the property’s square footage and split the property into part office and reapply in order to get the approval to open. He never got the parking variance. In all, the process took three years before he could serve his first cup of coffee to a paying customer.

Although it is too late to help German, Dallas has started the process of abolishing parking minimums like many other cities including Austin, both large and small, across the United States have.

Joe Palmer, Director of Communications for Haltom United Business Alliance, says, “This is happening all over America, but fortunately, the wave is turning with many cities and even states abolishing irrelevant and investment-busting regulations like parking minimums. Haltom City has the same issues, and until they wake up and change many of their old codes, the south and central parts of the city will continue their decline.”

“Haltom City’s main thoroughfare, Denton Highway, has a 29% vacancy rate, and it appears to be increasing,” Palmer adds. With vacancies rising, the big businesses and a grocery store aren’t coming, and crime will increase, making the problems worse. The only solution in Haltom City is to attract small businesses to rejuvenate the corridor, and then hope to attract larger businesses. To add insult to injury, many cities are using their codes as a weapon, to discourage most all businesses except retail, which collects sales tax. Unfortunately, retail stores aren’t in vogue now because large online sellers have decimated those operators.

Ron Sturgeon, a member of the Haltom United Business Alliance says it would cost the city nothing to modify or eliminate the parking restrictions in just the corridors that are struggling. “It’s one of a list of written proposals the business alliance tendered to the city over 2 years ago, which they’ve, amazingly, never considered.”

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 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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