Former Orange hall closer to new life as flower, gift shop
Essa council has approved amending the Township's Official Plan and
Zoning Bylaw to permit a flower and gift shop to open in the former
Orange Lodge in Baxter.
The proponents, Robert and Patricia Denney, who own the 120 year old
property at 75 Denney Drive, still need to clear the 20 day appeal
period, which expires Sept. 25, and then wait for Simcoe County to sign
off as the approval authority for official plan amendments.
The subject property has a total area of 1,013 square metres (10,900
sq.ft.) with approximately 23.5 metres of street frontage on Murphy
Road and 50.29 metres of frontage on Denney Drive. It is designated
Institutional whose permitted uses do not include retail.
Essa's Official Plan dictates that new commercial uses should be
located together "wherever possible." But there is only one other
commercial unit in Baxter and it's located adjacent to the rail line on
the north side of Murphy Road.
"There are no opportunities to expand the commercial uses in the
vicinity of the existing commercial use, and as such, this policy
should not apply," according to the planning report prepared by the
Township's planning consultant, Lucas and Associates.
"The proposed gift and flower shop is expected to serve a much larger
area than just Baxter, which alone has over 100 residences, and is
expected to grow significantly with the recent draft approval of an
estimated 249 new single family lots. At present, all residents of
Baxter and the surrounding area are required to leave their community
to do their shopping. Small commercial uses, such as the proposed gift
and flower shop, should be encouraged in the smaller communities like
Baxter as a means of creating communities that are vibrant and
complete. Given that there are virtually no existing commercial uses in
Baxter, together with the fact that Baxter is expected to grow by
almost two and half times its current size, the need for new commercial
uses in Baxter is self evident."
The site plan includes seven parking spaces and one handicap spot, with
the entrance located on Denney Drive, 44.9 metres from the Murphy Road.
The planned driveway interferes with an existing crosswalk (Baxter
public school is located across the street), and the line painting will
have to be relocated.
"The proposed gift and flower shop is not expected to generate large
volumes of traffic. Nevertheless, the entrance has been located as far
from the Murphy Road/Denney Drive intersection as possible to avoid any
potential conflicts. The site will provide the required number of
parking spaces and sidewalks are proposed from the parking area to the
building. As discussed previously, a minimum 30 wide buffer is proposed
between the parking area and the adjacent residential uses, and through
appropriate landscaping and/or fencing, it is anticipated that any
potential impacts of vehicles can be appropriately mitigated. It should
be noted that the existing assembly hall use provides no on-site
parking. Presumably, when events were held, visitors parked on the
street and/or in the school parking lot. This change is use will remove
the need for visitors to park on the street."
The former Baxter Orange Lodge has occupied the property since 1891
with its heydays in the 1950s and 1960's. It was sold last September to
"It should be noted that the proposed gift and flower shop represents
the redevelopment of an abandoned use within the existing community and
does not require nor result in the expansion ofthe existing built
boundary of the Baxter community."