Developers looking to build a commercial development on FM 120 will need to go back to the drawing board after a rezoning request was denied by the city of Denison earlier this month. The denial followed protests by neighboring residents who felt the development clashed with what was otherwise a predominantly residential neighborhood.

The zoning change was requested by Banks Construction, who previously zoned the land, located in the 3900 block of FM 120, for residential development.

The request was unanimously denied in a 6-0 vote when it went before the City Council. Due to the high percentage of neighbors — nearly half — in opposition, the request would have required six of seven votes in favor, with council member Teresa Adams absent from the meeting.

“The applicants have indicated they would like to change that zoning because they haven’t had a lot of interest from marketing it as residential,” Planning and Zoning Manager Steven Doss said.

The request was originally brought before the P&Z Commission, who recommended denial of the request in September. During the P&Z meeting, neighboring homeowners argued that the area, despite being located on a major roadway and just west of the Denison Walmart, was predominantly residential and should remain that way.

During the September meeting, Brad Sylvester, representing Banks Construction, said he originally intended to build two residential homes on the site, but demand dropped. Despite the loss in interest for residential, Banks said he has continued to get calls asking about commercial properties.

As an alternative to the commercial zoning, city staff recommended that the council could instead approve a change for community or local retail.

Sylvester said the land would likely be used for a retail purpose, but the flexibility with commercial would assist in marketing the property. During the P&Z meeting, Sylvester said he is considering adding mini-storage units in the future, which are allowed in commercial zoning with a conditional-use permit. If the land was developed in-house for retail, Sylvester said it would likely be a year or two away, he said.

Denison Mayor Janet Gott asked whether the council would be allowed to make this change, given that residents were notified about the possibility of commercial zoning. Doss said the council would be allowed to approve a zoning district that has more restrictive requirements and uses than what was requested without the need for additional notification.

This elicited an objection from council member J.C. Doty, who felt it would be best to allow residents to weigh in on the alternative. Doss said it would be possible to table the request in order to send out a second notification.

Council member Kris Spiegel also objected, noting the request seemed based on speculation. Spiegel worried it would open the door for other undesired development to take place on the site if it was ever sold.

“If we do that change now, anything that fits in that zoning would be automatic,” he said.