A development proposal before Champlain Township Council has received its final reading; the proposal involves changing the zoning of a property on Main Street, Vankleek Hill from Residential Low Density Policy Area to Commercial Village/Commercial Core Policy Area, to permit the development of a tulip garden centre along with limited commercial uses including a tourist lodging establishment, a restaurant, outdoor commercial patio, assembly hall and retail store.

On August 12, council approved first and second reading to by-laws granting an Official Plan Amendment (OPA) and Zoning By-law Amendment (ZBA) for what will be known as the Vankleek Hill Tulpenhuis at 199 Main Street East. The property is located on the north side of Main Street between Stanley Avenue and Farmers Avenue. A stone house and barn are already located at the 4.8-acre site. At its September 9 meeting, the by-laws were read a third time by council.

While the draft by-law provided a maximum commercial floor area of 750 square metres, the applicant reduced this limit to 550 square metres. This restricts the commercial building footprint to an area smaller than the footprint of the existing buildings. The zoning amendment was revised to reduce the proposed floor areas for the more intensive commercial core uses–restaurant café (200 square metres, tourist lodging (four bedrooms) and retail (50 square metres.)

A minimum of 31 parking stalls will be required to service the property for the highest intensity commercial use. To ensure compatibility with adjacent residential land use, the zoning by-law amendment requires that parking areas be divided into parking islands and concealed with landscaping and fence.

Owners Michael Block and Sandra Bebbington will continue to live in the house on the property as they develop a tourist destination and a business that would provide flowers for wholesalers in Montréal and Ottawa, and would offer tulip bulbs for sale to the public each fall. 

At the September 9 regular council meeting, Vankleek Hill Councillor Peter Barton said he felt that the approval “allows the business to set up and bring new things to our community.”