Diners at a Sherman eatery man soon get the chance to eat outdoors.


The Sherman Planning and Zoning Commission recently approved a request for permission to build an outdoor dining canopy outside of Cielito Lindo, at the intersection of Texoma Parkway and Gallagher Drive.


Representatives for the restaurant said they planned to build a 30-foot by 24-foot canopy on a concrete slab at the front of the restaurant.


"I am guessing there had to be a patio here before at some point," Board Chairman Clay Mahone, noting the existing slab.


Rigoberto Rivas, representing the restaurant, said he has received comments from diners who wanted to be able to eat outside rather than in the dining room itself.


Commission member Shawn Davis noted that outdoor dining would also provide additional space for the restaurant at a time when restaurants are restricted on indoor seating due to the COVID-19 pandemic. By adding an outdoor patio, the restaurant could effectively increase its capacity.


Representatives for the restaurant noted that the canopy will be attached to the building and constructed from metal.


Mahone noted concerns about the proximity to Texoma Parkway and worried that a car leaving the roadway could strike people under the canopy. Davis noted that a car lot across the street also features canopies close to the property line.


"I mean, people aren’t sitting at tables under them," Mahone said.


City staff noted that the canopy would be about 25 feet from the roadway, and there is a ditch between the two. Rivas also noted that he plans to build a metal fence to help encase the outdoor space and protect diners.


Rivas noted that the canopy would block the restaurants current signage, but he has plans to move it elsewhere. However, this would require a return visit to city hall.


Michael Hutchins is the local government reporter for the Herald Democrat. He can be reached at mhutchins@heralddemocrat.com.