Heritage Action Plan Revision Part I

The Heritage Action Plan, Heritage Register and guidelines for heritage buildings are in the midst of being updated. A temporary guideline called the Heritage or Character Buildings Review - Interim Procedure is currently being utilized as changes to the guidelines are underway and are pending completion for December 2015. This interim procedure applies to development applications involving pre-1940s buildings and reflects policies that aim to "enhance the retention and rehabilitation of character homes throughout Vancouver and reduce construction waste". By providing incentives rather than penalties, the City encourages owners to retain pre-1940 buildings. Plans to demolish a heritage or character building in Vancouver must be done through a demolition application with particular criteria from the Interim Procedure in which there are varying criteria across the city.

What is a Character Building?
A home constructed prior to 1940 is the basic criterion for preserving homes in the Strathcona, Kitsilano and Mount Pleasant areas. They are considered to be character buildings if they also include at least four of the following elements:

     - original massing and roof form;
     - original open front porch or veranda, or only partially filled in;
     - original claffing or replacement cladding consistent with 1940;
     - period windows (50% or more), with original location, size and shape;
     - original casings or trim (50% or more) such as around windows 
       and doors; and
     - period details or decorative elements (2 or more of brackets, beams,
       joist ends); and
     - other period features (porch, roof, foundation).

Thus, property owners retaining the original buildings in the RT-3, RT-7/8, RT-10, RT-11 and RM-1 Zones are eligible for incentives including increase density and height. The breakdown of the zoning area is found below. 

For a complete zoning map of Vancouver, click here

The interim procedure applies to the aforementioned zoning areas including RS-3 and RS-5 as well as where conditional zoning provisions apply. Conditional zoning areas represent ~23% of one- and two-family zoning areas located in Arbutus, Dunbar and Kerrisdale.

Stay tuned on Part II of the series "Heritage Action Plan Revision".