City leaders are using codes as weapons against small business owners like a local wrecker service.

HALTOM CITY, TX, March 22, 2024 /24-7PressRelease/ — In January of 2024, Haltom City spotted a wrecker service operating on the south side of 121 in an industrial part of town. The wrecker service had been operating from the same lot for 20 years, but it did not have a certificate of occupancy. There were no complaints against the long-operating businessperson.

The city refused the operator a certificate of occupancy, saying that he needed a conditional use permit.

Haltom United Business Alliance Founder and longtime local businessperson Ron Sturgeon was shocked when he was approached by the business owner, who was seeking advice on how to deal with Haltom City.

The businessperson did not understand why he needed a conditional use permit since the lot he was using already had a conditional use permit (CU-002-98) since 1998 for a salvage yard that had used the lot to store vehicles.

At first, the city said that the previous CUP was invalid because the salvage yard had not received a certificate of occupancy. Based on advice from the city attorney, city staff learned that a CUP is a city ordinance and that it lasts forever and is not void simply because an operator needs a certificate of occupancy.

The owner understood he needed a certificate of occupancy, and he also understood that the city was unlikely to grant a new conditional use permit.

Sturgeon said, “The city took the interpretation that storing vehicles meant that the vehicles had to be inoperable and because the wrecker operator could not certify that all the stored vehicles were inoperable, the original CUP was invalid.”

HUBA Communications Director Joe Palmer said, “The city’s position is absurd. Who would suppose that a stored vehicle must be inoperable at either a salvage yard or a wrecker service. Who would make that determination? The CUP says the lot is designated for storing vehicles and that’s what the operator has been using it for the last 20 years.”

“It’s decisions like this one that contribute directly to small businesses moving out of Haltom City and to city residents having to do to nearby cities for goods, services, and employment,” says Sturgeon. A recent business census completed at HUBA’s request revealed that Denton Highway has a 29 percent vacancy rate.

“The city would have us believe that because some warehouses got built bringing in tax revenues to the city that it is okay to close down a small business that has been operating in Haltom City for two decades without complaint,” said Palmer.

To help bring small businesses back to South and Central Haltom City, Sturgeon formed Make Haltom City Thrive Again, placing a billboard on Highway 121 in Haltom City that has driven ore than 8,000 visitors to the site. Sturgeon started his first business in Haltom City more than 50 years ago and he is passionate about bringing all the small businesses back to the city.

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.

For the original version of this press release, please visit here