Denison officials recently received a progress report on an effort to update one of the city’s major planning documents. The meeting allowed members of Denison’s comprehensive plan steering committee and Planning and Zoning Commission to come together to discuss the update prior to its expected adoption later this summer. Officials said early drafts of the document predict major growth in west Denison and in Gateway Village along FM 691.
The document outlines Denison’s preferred and expected land use, expected growth patterns, and expected traffic corridors for years to come. Despite common practices to update the plan about every five years, the document was last updated in 2002, city officials said.
“There is a real focus on creating Denison as a quality community,” City Manager Jud Rex said. “In all aspects, we want Denison to be quality and that needs to be reflected in our zoning and code standards.”
The proposed comprehensive plan includes smaller plans, including a thoroughfare plan and land-use plan, that outline individual aspects of the city’s expected growth. With the update, Planning and Zoning Manager Steven Doss said city officials took a broader look than the previous version had.
“The plan from a 30,000 foot view is staying mostly the same within the city’s ETJ (extraterritorial jurisdiction),” Doss said, but noted the previous version tended to look at specific parcels of land, while the current update looks more at areas of town.
In addition to offering guidelines for growth in various parts of the city, Doss said the land use plan also set guidelines for different kinds of development. As an example, he said multi-family developments should not be placed within single-family neighborhoods and should be connected along a major arterial for connectivity.
Denison City Manager Jud Rex said projections call for the majority of the growth in Denison to occur in areas west of U.S. Highway 75 and in the Gateway Village development along FM 691 and the highway. As such, Rex said it is important for the city to consider and preserve its east-west corridors, which is something the city is lacking.
“That is one of the things we are looking at now — how do we bridge that gap, quite literally, with regard to connectivity,” Doss said.
Among the changes in this update is the use of what Doss described as revitalization corridors and nodes for areas that once were commercial hubs and streets in Denison. Among these areas are Austin Avenue and Woodlawn and the former Texoma Medical Center complex, he said.
In the latest iterations of the planning document, Doss said increased commercial activity was expected. However, this development did not come to the level that was anticipated, and these areas could be prime for reinvestment opportunities, Doss said.
With some of these areas, Doss said a denser form of residential development is proposed as the best use for the area.
Another change proposed in the update is something that Doss described as “flexible office” space for businesses that blend and blur the lines between commercial, retail and industrial. As an example, Doss referred to a T-shirt printing business that has a showroom out front, larger warehouse and a dock for light deliveries.
For his part, Rex said the discussions this week primarily focused on “10 big ideas” of broad topics on which the city should focus its efforts. Some of the topics included perennial goals, such as growth and economic development. Others included topics more in line with the growth that the city has seen in recent years, including housing development and transportation issues.
“As Denison grows, continue to promote welcoming and inclusive neighborhoods by coordinating with the ISDs on school location and shared facilities, encouraging partnerships with neighborhood and volunteer organizations and provide services and events that maintain community bonds,” draft planning documents said.