Empty commercial buildings in Denison could soon have a new option to choose what type of business they host.


The Denison Planning and Zoning Commission approved a change to the zoning code making room for cabinet makers and upholstery shops to operate their manufacturing business in a commercially-zoned building.


The commission set a stipulation that would require at least 10 percent of the space be used for a showroom or retail space to prevent industrial manufacturers from abusing the new ordinance.


There is a developer currently looking at a building that used to be a lumber facility. It is currently zoned commercial, and city staff realized the best approach wouldn’t be changing that zoning to industrial use because that can open the doors up to an industrial plant, like a meat packing plant that the city may not want running through a major thoroughfare, Chairman Charles Shearer said.


Outlining a conditional-use permit will allow the to keep a closer eye on these projects going forward to kind of manage that kind of growth.


A P&Z commissioner raised a concern over leaving out retail space as a requirement for the permit.


“Obviously retail is the approved use in a commercial district,” Shearer said. “What we are doing here is adding capability of them manufacturing at the same location with this CUP. If they came in as a manufacturing facility, upholstery products or cabinetry, there is no show room, there is no retail, would that still be allowed?”


Shearer said his concern was to ensure there was a retail space mandated to be included in the issuance of the permit. The motion was amended to include wording that would set the minimum threshold for retail space to be 10 percent with the option to apply for variances on a case by case basis.


Denison City Manager Jud Rex said there is not currently a requirement to have retail and setting the benchmark at 10 percent would allow for the alterations as applicants sought the permit.


Rex said it was better to have the mandate written into the ordinance rather than adding it to the conditional-use permit at each instance it would be requested.


Mike Davis made the motion with the amendment.


The Denison City Council will still have to approve the ordinance at its next meeting set to take place Monday.


What do you think about the city allowing older commercial buildings to be used for manufacturing? Let Denison area reporter Richard A. Todd know by email at rtodd@heralddemocrat.com. He can also be reached on Facebook and Twitter @RichardAToddHD.