The Denison Planning and Zoning Commission granted initial approval for a conditional use permit for a new country music nightclub in downtown Denison. The commission unanimously voiced approval for the request despite some opposition from neighboring property owners.
The request will move on to the Denison City Council, which will make a final decision on the zoning change application during its first April meeting.
Chris and Diana Jenkins approached the commission Tuesday with plans to open a nightclub in a 6,000-square-foot building at 123 W. Woodard St. Chris Jenkins said he came up with the idea to start a night club a few years ago due to his lifelong love of red dirt country music.
“In this area, where do you go for country music?” he said. “There isn’t a place for it.”
Jenkins said he planned to have the club open Thursday through Sunday from 8 p.m. through 2 a.m. and would host live acts, including some that would draw from area like the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. With the draw and visitors to downtown, Jenkins said he hopes that the club will be a benefit to Denison and nearby businesses and restaurants.
Jenkins, who has previously worked with similar clubs in the past, said he does not plan to serve food at the establishment, but is in talks with a restaurateur who is considering opening a Cajun restaurant in downtown near the proposed club.
In the past, the building has been the home of several bars and other entertainment venues, including Susie Q’s and Union Station. While the establishment would serve alcohol, Jenkins said he expects the clientele to be different from those of other, bars or clubs in the area.
Previously, these other establishments operated out of the building using a conditional use permit. However, as the building has been vacant and not used in this way in more than six months, the permit has since expired.
Mike Zapata, representing the neighboring Zig Zag Gallery, spoke in opposition to the request, citing worries that it would detract from his daughter’s plans to open an art studio and run classes at the location over the weekends and during evening hours. As many of these classes would be aimed and children and teenagers, Zapata said he felt the two businesses clashed and were not compatible.
Zapata also worried that there would not be enough parking at the site to support existing uses and a heavier use like an entertainment venue. Commission Chairman Charles Shearer said the property falls within the central district, which does not set requirements for parking as there are many opportunities for street parking and public lots.
Likewise, Charlotte Shelton, who owns a property next to the proposed club, said she has had issues with patrons of the previous clubs using her property for additional parking. While she understood the need for parking, she said she was less understanding about the trash and beer bottles that were left behind on her property.
Shearer said Shelton, as a private property owner, had multiple options at her disposal to deal with people parking on her lot. Shearer suggested the possibility of a private fence or posting notice and having the vehicles towed.
Despite offering these suggestions, Shearer noted that he was uncertain if it is a fair comparison to compare the proposed night club to some of the building’s previous uses.
“This is not the Susie Q’s of old,” Commissioner Mary Karam said, mirroring Shearer’s comments.
With the approval the commission did impose a number of requirements as a part of the permit. The commission is recommending that the business be limited to hours between 8 p.m. and 2 a.m. from Thursday through Sunday, as the applicant intends. Additionally, the commission required that there be no outdoor music without a special event permit.
In part, these requirements were imposed in the event that another user moves into the property and tries to make use of the conditional use permit, officials said.