Denison is paving the way to allow for modern types of travel centers to come to the city. The Denison Planning and Zoning Commission will be discussing an ordinance that will allow for the city to define travel centers as a type of business.


Denison City Manager Jud Rex said the change will allow the city to be more flexible in its vetting of different types of convenience stores along the U.S. Highway 75 corridor.


“The highway convenience store arena has changed quite a bit over the years,” Rex said. “You have your traditional convenience stores with a more automobile focused and you have truck stops which are more truck oriented. The market had adapted for more of a mix hybrid of the two that is what we are trying to define. It will allow something that mimics the Buc’ees or Loves Truck Stop that caters mostly to automobile traffic but does set aside space for diesel pumps and spaces for trucks.”


Rex said the change will make it easier for the city to lure those types of businesses and adapt to the changing landscape.


“Over the last year we have had a lot of interest in putting in travel centers,” Rex said. “With the amount of highway frontage we have along (Highway) 75 we’re likely to see more develop in the next few years.”


In the documents that will be presented to P&Z on Tuesday the item ordinance will define a travel center as “a highway-oriented facility that provides services to the travelling public, primarily focused on automobiles, to include fuel pumps, food and beverage services, retail shops, restaurant(s), and other similar convenience facilities. Travel Center does not include truck or automotive repair services, sleeping quarters, or vehicle or truck parking for a period greater than 12 hours.”


Rex said under current ordinance, a travel center isn’t defined. Previously the business would fall under the truck stop or gas station designation, and both of those uses have limitations to certain areas. The ordinance would streamline the process to allow for the type of business to come to Denison.


The other change in the ordinance will allow for the creation of a conditional use permit to allow for a cabinet or upholstery shop to operate in a commercial zone instead of being restricted to industrial zones.


“This has roots in some of the older parts of town: Austin Avenue, Morton Street,” Rex said. “We have a lot of older, unused buildings that are commercial zoned cannot be used for that type of business.”


Rex said the change is to make it easier to re-purpose some of the older buildings without having to rezone them.


“We’re looking for strategies to revitalize some of our older commercial corridors,” Rex said. “Our intent is to make sure some of those older buildings can be used for a productive use. On the manufacturing side it will make it easier to reuse some of the older, vacant buildings in Denison. It puts the city in a position to help development out.”


If the changes are passed at the P&Z meeting the city council will take up the item at its next regular meeting.


What travel centers would you like to see come to Denison if this change is approved? Let Denison area reporter Richard A. Todd know by email rtodd@heralddemocrat.com He can also be reached on Facebook and Twitter @RichardAToddHD.