The Denison Planning and Zoning Commission approved initial plans and variances for a new four- to six-story parking garage and medical office building on the Texoma Medical Center campus Tuesday. The new projects come just months after the hospital officially opened its new emergency room and tower to the public.


The proposed office building and parking garage would be located on the north and east side of the hospital campus, respectively. Documents for the meeting list Universal Health Services as the applicant for the site plan.


“The new medical office and parking garage will allow TMC to continue to expand services and physician office space,” TMC CEO Ron Seal said via text message.


Plans for the parking garage, which would be the first such structure in Denison, call for a four-story structure with 1,400 spots, however developers said during the meeting that they are currently considering expanding it to be six stories. Documents and renderings for Tuesday’s meeting reflected the six-story design.


Developer Chad Suitonu, representing the hospital and PM Realty Group, said the plans for the garage hinge on funding, which had not been fully explored prior to the meeting.


“This parking garage we have shown is a nicer garage,” he said. “It has pre-cast panels around the building and some decorative stone at the main entrance there. We don’t know if we can afford this garage, so there are some more cost effective garages that we can build.”


As an example, Suitonu said parts of the plan, including the use of stone at the entrance, could be adjusted or removed to reduce the cost of the project. Additionally, the security panels could be removed and security cables could be used instead, at a significantly reduced cost.


Suitonu noted that this is the first garage project of its kind in Denison, and the city may not have formal regulations regarding this type of structure. Planning and Zoning Manager Steven Doss concurred, stating that this was breaking new ground for the city. However, Doss noted that the city has no safety concerns with the project.


“It is kind of an open book for us without these standards,” he said.


Commissioner Mary Karam asked whether it would be an issue for the developer if the item was tabled until next month in order for more information on the pricing and financing side of the project to be made available. Alternatively, Karam also proposed approving the initial request and requiring developers to return to the city if changes were deemed necessary


Suitonu said he was hesitant to continue with the design of the parking garage without approval, noting that both projects effectively hinge on each other. With construction proposed to begin within the next two months, Suitonu said he would prefer if it was not delayed any further.


Commission Chairman Charles Shearer said he had less concerns about the project, even if it did need some alterations due to cost. He noted that he has seen security cables used elsewhere in parking garages, and this is a fairly common practice.


“If we have to lose that stone entrance, I don’t care,” Hh said. “It doesn’t face the street, so I don’t think it will affect much.”


The majority of Tuesday’s discussions focused on the parking garage, with few concerns raised about the new medical offices. Artist renderings for the project listed the new building at the Texoma Medical Plaza.


The proposed three-story office building is expected to add an additional 86,000 square feet of office space to the hospital campus. Due to this additional capacity, officials said the new garage is necessary to meet the hospital’s needs.


Messages and calls to TMC for additional comment and details on the project were not immediately returned Tuesday.


The request was approved by the board for both options for height, and building materials. The approval also contained a variance to allow metal to be used as an external building material.