A heritage conservation area is a distinct district with special heritage value and/or heritage character, identified for heritage conservation purposes in an Official Community Plan.
A local government establishes a heritage conservation area when it has identified a distinctive area which it feels should be managed by long-term protection.
What does it do?
A heritage conservation area is intended to provide long-term protection to a distinctive area which contains resources with special heritage value and/or heritage character. A heritage conservation area can provide protection to all or some of the properties in a heritage conservation area. Properties that are to be protected must be specifically identified in the bylaw.
In a heritage conservation area, a property owner may do any of the following with a heritage alteration permit:
- Subdivision of a property;
- Addition of a structure or addition to an existing structure;
- Construction of a new building; or
- Alteration to a building, structure, land, or feature.
How do you use it?
1. Through a process of planning and research, a community identifies a distinctive area that it determines should be managed by long-term heritage protection.
2. Local government, in consultation with the area property owners, agrees that a heritage conservation area is the best tool to provide long-term protection.
3. Local government consults with area property owners regarding the control mechanisms (including design controls) which may be included in the bylaw.
4. Local government prepares a bylaw to amend the Official Community Plan to identify the heritage conservation area.
The bylaw must include:
- A description of the special features or characteristics which justify the establishment of a heritage conservation area,
- The objectives of the heritage conservation area, and
- Guidelines for how the objectives will be achieved.
The bylaw may also:
- identify circumstances for which a permit is not required, and
- include a schedule listing the protected properties in the area, and identify features or characteristics that contribute to the heritage value or heritage character of the area.
5. At least ten days before a public hearing is held to discuss the amendment, local government notifies all owners of property listed on the heritage conservation area schedule.
6. Local government adopts the heritage conservation area bylaw.
7. Local government notifies the Land Title Office and the minister responsible for the Heritage Conservation Act of the adoption of the heritage conservation area bylaw, as well as any additions or deletions that may be made to the heritage conservation area schedule.
A community identifies a neighbourhood that it believes warrants long-term heritage protection. Following local government consultation with the property owners in the area, it is agreed that a number of historic structures, buildings, and landscape features should be protected by the creation of a heritage conservation area in the community’s official community plan.
Local government prepares a bylaw outlining a description of the special features or characteristics which justify the establishment of the heritage conservation area, the objectives of the heritage conservation area, and guidelines for how the objectives will be achieved. The bylaw also includes a schedule to the official community plan that lists those structures, buildings, and landscape features which are specifically protected by the heritage conservation area.
Local government notifies property owners in the area and holds a public hearing regarding the bylaw. Council adopts the bylaw, and notifies the Land Title Office and the minister responsible for the Heritage Conservation Act.
References: Heritage Conservation: A Community Guide, Heritage Conservation: A Community Guide, Province of British Columbia, Ministry of Tourism, Sport and the Arts; also Local Government Act s. s. 970.1, s. 971, 972