The Denison City Council recently approved a series of zoning changes to allow for mixed small-scale commercial and residential uses in the block surrounding the Greater Texoma Health Clinic on North Armstrong Avenue. The zoning changes will pave the way for the construction of a new day care facility and residential homes on what has been a mostly vacant block.

The item was approved in July with little discussion by the council and no comments from the public. Under the zoning change, 10 lots on the block were rezoned from planned development for offices to neighborhood service district, while an additional were rezoned for single family residential.

“The surrounding area is almost entirely zoned and developed as single family,” Kimberly Murray, Denison director of community and development services, said in an email. “The Neighborhood Services zoning district is Denison’s lightest intensity nonresidential zoning district and is intended to be the zone for small businesses that serve the surrounding residential areas. It should blend in with the neighborhood.”

The neighborhood services district will be used for the development of a new Jack & Jill Day Care Center on the western side of the block. The business currently operates another facility just across the street from the health clinic. It remains unclear if the new building will replace the current facility, or if it will remain in use.

Calls to the day care for comment were not returned.

Murray said that the current future land use plan for the area lists the best use of the land as for office purposes, but noted that the city is currently updating its comprehensive plan, which is out of date. She added that the property may have been zoned already when the land use plan was developed last.

“So, it may have been them fitting the plan to reality,” she said. With the update, however, Murray said that the area favors residential uses.

“The new Future Land Use Plan shows residential graphically, and has language that sets criteria for placing small scale service and retail uses within those areas,” she said. “For example, appropriate areas are those along major thoroughfares and at corners.”

With the choice of using neighborhood service district, Murray said it made the most sense as it allows nonresidential uses and wouldn’t result in split zoning for the area.

David Munson, who is assisting with the construction of the new day care center, said he hopes to call the new facility the Jack & Jill Early Learning Center. The facility will be built to the standards of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, he said. This will include a low student-to-teacher ratio, high square footage per child and appropriate furniture, among other requirements.

Munson said his history with the day care dates back to the late 1940s when the original day care was built on the same site by Shepherd M. McColums, a former employee for the Munson family who helped raise him. A sign on the property still bears his name to this day.