A zoning change request lead to an interesting turn of events Monday. What started as a conversation on proposed housing along Park Avenue ended with the city of Sherman considering widening the roadway for freight traffic.


It was argued that are construction could allow for residential development in the 200 block of W. Park Avenue, but could have also choked existing truck routes.


After brief discussions, the City Council voted to table the request while city staff explores options to widen the roadway, potentially with the assistance of the Sherman Economic Development Corporation.


“The plan is to build eight homes there as there are eight lots,” developer Ron Barton described his plans to develop the area.


Barton requested that the property be rezoned to residential from light manufacturing. The property was zoned for manufacturing years ago due to its proximity to the Burlington building and previously housed the company’s employees.


A similar zoning request was filed in mid-2006, but was denied amid concerns from nearby manufacturing entities, including Douglass Distributing. However, the market has shifted in recent years toward residential development, Barton said in documents from Monday’s meeting.


The request received two letters in opposition and one in favor of the development. Among those opposing the development was Christmas Designers, who maintain a location adjacent to the proposed residential development.


“Our business operates out of the 65,000 square-foot warehouse that is directly across the street from the property,” said Jason Woodward, director of business operations for Christmas Designers. “We received a large number of shipping containers into our loading dock area as well as hundreds of incoming and outgoing shipments, especially during the last half of the year. This is a very busy freight area for our operations.”


Brad Douglass, CEO of Douglass Distributing, expressed continued concerns during Monday’s meeting and urged the city to consider widening the roadway. Douglass only learned about the request after it was unanimously approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission and was not notified of the initial meeting as he was not within the notification area.


Douglass said the width of the roadway drops down to about 25.8 feet in the area surrounding the 200 block, but they can be navigated by the 10-foot-wide trucks. However, street parking from residences would further limit the vehicle’s mobility.


“The challenge for us is the city of Sherman has designated Park Avenue as the designated truck route,” he said. “It is what we use to get from the interior of Sherman out to (U.S. Highway 75).”


Douglass said that no parking signs had been tried elsewhere to limited results. However, the expansion of the roadway in another area had alleviated the problems, he said.


“We are excited about the new residential growth in Sherman,” Douglass said. “That is part of our neighborhood and we just need enough room out there to get to (U.S. Hwy. 75 and we think a road widening would fit both uses.”


SEDCO Vice President Stacey Jones said Tuesday morning that she had not had any conversations with the city and no SEDCO representatives were in attendance during the meeting. As such, she was unable to comment on if SEDCO could participate in such a project.


Michael Hutchins is the local government reporter. He can be reached at MHutchins@HeraldDemocrat.com.