The Denison Planning and Zoning Commission approved a preliminary plat for a 31-lot patio home development in the 1800 block of Crawford Street. This came at odds with city staff who recommended disapproval of the request based on street specifications within the development.


“I believe that this will be a quality development, … but we have regulations in place for a reason,” Denison Development Services Director Gabe Reaume said during the meeting.


The request was approved in a 3-1 vote, with commissioners Spence Redwine, Brett Evans and Matthew Looney voting in favor and Mary Karam voting against. Charles Shearer recused himself from the discussion due to his work with the development.


This is the second item related to the development that has been approved by the city this week. The Denison City Council approved a zoning change to planned development district for the development on Monday. This zoning district is typically used to give some flexibility from city regulations for specialty developments.


Once completed, the Meridian Addition will feature more than 30 patio-home style residences along an exterior loop with a public amenity at the center of the gated development. The development will be managed by a homeowner’s association and will include private streets.


It was these private, two-way streets that were the center of Tuesday’s debate over the future of this development. Under the proposed designs, the development will feature 45-foot rights of way with 24-foot wide streets. Under current city zoning standards streets are typically 31 feet wide, with six inches for curb on either side.


Planning and Zoning Manager Steven Doss argued that the narrow streets could prove to be a hazard with on street parking. This would prove to be an obstacle in the event fire trucks or other emergency vehicles attempted to drive through the area. Further, he argued that the developers did not show a hardship that would necessitate the variance from city standard.


Doss said, despite being a private road, it should be developed to the same standards that other public streets are. This is in the anticipation that the road will eventually be given over to the city at a later date further into the lifetime of the development.


“It is staff’s opinion that the subdivision be approved only if all subdivision requirements are met,” he said.


Kevin Hempkins, representing the developer Hempkins Partners, said the HOA will not allow street parking in the development. Each of the plots would also feature at least four off-street parking spots in addition to any additional storage from garages.


Doss argued this hinged on the HOA enforcing this requirement. If not, there could be an issue any time there is an emergency in the development.


“In the event of an emergency it is better to not have to wait on a tow truck,” he said.


Both Redwine and Looney argued that there are already some streets within the city that do not meet the 30-foot standard. In some cases, there streets are as narrow as 23 feet across, they said.


Development Review Coordinator Gracie Loyd noted that this sounded like urban estates zoning, which no longer exists within the city.


Alternatives options, including making the streets one-way roads or reducing the size of the center amenity were briefly discussed, but ultimately the majority of the commission felt the developers had shown the need for this design feature and that the city’s concerns were not warranted.


“The hardship is fitting marketing need in this region at a reasonable price,” Looney said.