If you own a heritage home, you may want to protect it for generations to come. But how can you do that? The high land values on the North Shore make it challenging for heritage homes in the face of pressure to maximize the size of the building on each lot. 

Preservation Options

1. Ensure your home is on the Heritage Register

Each municipality has a Heritage Register which lists structures, buildings and landscapes which are noted for their heritage value.

City of North Vancouver Heritage Register

District of North Vancouver Heritage Register

District of West Vancouver Heritage Register

If your home is not already on the Register, click here to view the steps involved in having it added to your Municipal Register.  

 A home on Heritage Register is not formally legally protected but there are benefits:

  • A developer is less likely to target your property for development

  • Your home becomes eligible for incentives from the municipality for renovations and additional development of the property.

Incentives for a Heritage Register Home include eligibility for:

  • Alternative compliance under the BC Building Code

  • Exemptions and equivalencies under the Energy Efficiency Act and the Homeowner Protection Act (e.g. single pane windows can be retained)

  • Grants for home improvements in certain municipalities

  • Additional incentives if owner chooses to develop the property through a Heritage Revitalization Agreement

 

2. Undertake a Heritage Revitalization Agreement (HRA)

What is an HRA?  

The HRA Process in Brief

What are the costs and timeframe for an HRA?

  • The entire process will take at least 6 months but could take longer

  • The costs could include application, permit and public hearing fees, professional fees, construction costs, legal fees and subdivision fees but the HRA may give some relief in this regard

Examples of Current Incentives for an HRA

At this time, the three North Shore municipalities offer only non-financial incentives. Examples include:

  • Subdivision, setback and building height variances

  • Relaxations – e.g. Reduction in On-Site Parking Requirements

  • Density Bonuses – Allowing a property to contain more square footage than allowed under zoning by-law

  • Fast-tracking building permits

Examples of HRA’s in all three municipalities  

 

3. Municipal Heritage Designation  

Protect your home through a legal covenant without undertaking any development. This protects a house and property but does not provide the owner with incentives. Any future changes need to be approved by the municipality. Here are the steps to designate your home:

 

4. “No-Demolish” Covenant

The steps briefly involve a discussion with the municipality and the drafting of a legal document which will stipulate that your home cannot be demolished. The document is put on record with the Municipality and the Land Titles Office.