What is the Community Heritage Register and what are the benefits of a listing on the register?
The Community Heritage Register is a list of properties or resources that are formally recognized as having heritage value. It is a tool for understanding and managing the community’s heritage resources and establishes eligibility for the heritage conservation and incentive tools available through a Heritage Revitalization Agreement (HRA).
An HRA agreement allows local governments to supersede local zoning regulations and to provide non-financial incentives (such as allowing conversion of single-family homes into multi-family use, subdivision of a property, or infill options such as coach houses, varying siting and/or floor area, or short term rental use) which would make it viable for owners to conserve properties of heritage merit. It is a form of long-term, legal protection that is registered on the title of the property.
How are additions made to the Community Heritage Register?
Typically nominations to the Community Heritage Register are made by property owners because they either want the property to be formally recognized for its heritage value or they want to be eligible for municipal conservation incentives.
Nominations to the Community Heritage Register must meet the Council-approved selection criteria for additions to the Register, and the nomination must be supported by a Statement of Significance which describes the resource, defines its heritage value, and articulates its character-defining elements. Nominations are reviewed by the Heritage Advisory Committee and any additions to the Community Heritage Register must be approved by Council.
Does a listing on the Community Heritage Register mean that I will be restricted on what I can do on my property?
A listing on the Community Heritage Register does not mean that the property is legally protected (unlike municipally designated heritage properties). Having a property listed on the register does not prevent a property owner from altering their property, as long as the alterations follow existing laws, such as the BC Building Code, Zoning Bylaw, etc.
Does a listing on the Community Heritage Register reduce property values?
Inclusion on the register does not reduce property values and in fact could have a positive benefit with eligibility for incentives through a Heritage Revitalization Agreement.
What does it mean for a property to be “designated”?
Properties that are municipally designated heritage properties are legally protected from demolition/alteration via a heritage designation bylaw. In most cases, heritage designation is the outcome of a negotiated Heritage Revitalization Agreement process where additional development rights are granted to a property owner as an incentive to conserve a recognized heritage resource, e.g., to make conservation an economically viable alternative to demolition and replacement. However, in some cases, a property owner simply wishes to protect a property in perpetuity and requests legal protection without seeking any incentives.
West Vancouver has 11 municipally designated heritage properties: two are publicly-owned properties and nine are privately-owned properties that were voluntarily designated at the request of the property owners.