Does the HCA change how big my house can be?

Yes! If your property is protected under the Heritage Conservation Area you are allowed additional floor space, beyond what was previously available. The floor space of your house can now be up to a maximum of 70% of your property size. For example, if your property is 6,000 square feet, your house can be up to 4,200 square feet. (This is called a 0.7 Floor Space Ratio). If your house is already at the maximum, you can still renovate, but need to stay within the floor space limit in the Zoning Bylaw. 

The effect of the Heritage Conservation Area for Protected properties is that design guidelines now apply for additions or other changes if the work proposed would make changes to the house that are visible from the street (front, sides or roof). This includes any changes to windows and doors. No additional permits are required and no design guidelines apply if the renovation is at the back of the house only and/or the interior.

For Non-protected properties, you can continue to do renovations to build a bigger house if it is not yet at the maximum. The floor space of your house can be up to a maximum of 50% of your property size. For example, if your property is 6,000 square feet, your house can be up to 3,000 square feet. (This is called a 0.5 Floor Space Ratio). The other regulations in the Zoning Bylaw, such as setbacks and height, also still apply.

When is a Heritage Alteration Permit Required?

The need to apply for a Heritage Alteration Permit (HAP) depends on the category of your property and the type of work you intend to do.

For Protected properties, an HAP is required for any changes to the outside of the house that
are visible from the street (front, sides, or roof). An HAP is also required for the construction of
laneway and carriage houses. Demolition of a Protected house will only be permitted
under specific circumstances. 

For Non-protected properties, an HAP is not required for renovations and demolitions. However, an HAP is required for the construction of a new house, and for laneway and carriage houses.

You can learn more about when a Heritage Alteration Permit is required in the Queen’s Park Heritage Conservation Area Guide, or by contacting the Planning Division.

What if I believe my property is in the wrong category?

Protecting your house adds value to the Heritage Conservation Area and makes the property eligible for incentives, such as higher permitted density.

However, if you believe the house has minimal heritage value and does not warrant protection, you can apply to remove the protection. The application would require hiring a heritage professional to assess the heritage value of your house and make a formal request of Council. The same Evaluation Checklist will be used to assess applications. Contact the Planning Division about making an application. Final approval is considered by Council after a public hearing has been held.

Alternatively, if you have a Non-protected property and believe your property has heritage value you can consider applying to have your property protected. It would become part of the Protected category and would be eligible for incentives. There is no fee associated with the application and Council makes the final decision.

Can I demolish my Protected home?

Demolition of a Protected home in Queen’s Park is only permitted under specific circumstances.

The Heritage Alteration Permit application to demolish a home will be reviewed against the Evaluation Checklist, which is organized into three categories:

1. Heritage Character and Merit
Intent: Retain neighbourhood buildings with heritage merit in order to retain the historic character of the neighbourhood.

2. Development Potential
Intent: Retain a property owner’s right to make additions up to the size of building permitted under the existing Zoning Bylaw.

3. Condition and Integrity
Intent: Consider the condition of the house, the integrity of its historic elements, and the work required to achieve heritage retention.

Each criteria on the checklist will be scored. If a house receives an overall score of 60% or less, demolition will be considered reasonable. It is then likely that the HAP application for demolition will be approved. If the house receives a score of more than 60%, retention will be considered reasonable and the HAP application for demolition will likely not be approved.

Does the Heritage Conservation Area provide me with any benefits as a property owner?

The City recognizes that protecting properties is valuable to the community at large and contributes to New Westminster’s character. Incentives for Protected properties, including additional floor space allowances, recognize this contribution. Learn more about the Incentive Program on the Ongoing Work page.

Incentives do not apply to Non-protected properties. However, homes in this category that have heritage value can apply to protect their property. If successful this would mean that the owner would be entitled to the incentives. 

Are there other opportunities to protect my property and make improvements?

Heritage Revitalization Agreements (HRAs) provide a higher level of protection (through Heritage Designation) than what is provided in the Heritage Conservation Area. HRAs may be applied to Protected properties in exchange for additional incentives. Non-protected properties with heritage value may also be eligible for incentives through an HRA. 

I’d like to build a laneway or carriage house in Queen’s Park, what is the process?

The City now permits the development of laneway and carriage houses on many single detached dwelling properties, including those in Queen’s Park. You will be required to meet all zoning regulations and the intent of the design guidelines for both the Heritage Conservation Area and the Laneway and Carriage House Development Permit Area. For more information, visit the Laneway and Carriage House webpage.