The Ontario Heritage Act provides for the scope of study for a heritage conservation district – see Section 40.(2). The act also states what is required for the contents of an HCD plan – see Section 41.1.(5).
In order for a municipality to undertake a study to create a Heritage Conservation District, it often provides a Terms of Reference document. This document outlines the scope of the study, relevant research, heritage evaluation, goals and objectives, and specific required tasks. The following examples show a variety of methods and processes involved in preparing HCD studies.
The City of Toronto has prepared the following report on developing a Terms of Reference document for creating a Heritage Conservation District: www.toronto.ca/heritage-preservation/pdf/hcd_policies.pdf.
The City of Burlington has prepared the following Terms of Reference document for an HCD study: http://cms.burlington.ca/Asset1641.aspx.
Municipalities have the authority to provide incentives to assist property owners within an HCD. Some municipalities provide grant programs, often a matching grant whereby the municipality and property owner equally share the cost of repair or restoration of heritage attributes. These types of programs vary from one municipality to another, so it is best to consult with your municipality to see if grant programs are available.
Municipalities may also provide tax rebate programs for properties protected under the Ontario Heritage Act. Again, these programs vary from one municipality to another, so consult with your municipality.
Numerous consulting firms in Ontario have extensive experience dealing with heritage conservation district plans. Visit the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals website to find a consultant and relevant information.
A municipality must refer to the establishment of heritage conservation districts in its Official Plan. The heritage designation of an individual property under Section 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act may also be considered within an HCD.
A city or town’s Official Plan provides guidance and long-term goals for planning and heritage conservation. The Official Plan provides a municipality with the legal authority to plan and protect its resources and may have specific requirements beyond the heritage conservation tools available in the Ontario Heritage Act.
Heritage policies and related planning tools are an important part of the Official Plan as seen in the following communities:
Other local planning tools include Community Improvement Plans, Secondary Plans and comprehensive zoning bylaws. These tools – when combined with heritage legislation – add to the protection and conservation of heritage resources.
The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport also provides general information on tools available for heritage conservation and the relationship to municipal planning and development. Resources include:
Academic studies regarding the value of a heritage property and the changes and development of heritage conservation districts over time have been completed by the Heritage Resources Centre at the University of Waterloo. The HCD Study Summary Report is also a good reference for the diverse number of HCDs in Ontario.
Each HCD operates in its own manner; some have specific development review committees and others do not. For instance, within the City of Toronto, the residents of the Cabbagetown HCD District Advisory Committee have created their own website to assist those living in the district and visitors to the area.
Heritage conservation districts are a common heritage planning tool throughout the world. The following examples are models and case studies with regard to heritage conservation districts beyond Ontario:
ICOMOS, the International Council on Monuments and Sites Charter for the Conservation of Historic Towns and Urban Areas (Washington Charter, 1987):
Conservation area policy in Wales dates back to the Civic Amenities Act of 1967. Largely the outcome of a Civic Trust initiative, this legislation in its early years reflected a growing concern about the effects of insensitive development on the historic built environment. Since that time, the legislative framework has been updated more than once. The Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act of 1990 was one such attempt to consolidate the evolving nature of the statutory guidance. See https://civictrustwales.wordpress.com/character-and-place for more information.
There are three types of heritage conservation areas covered by French legislation:
In addition, « L’Association Nationale des Villes et Pays d’art et d’histoire et des Villes à secteurs sauvegardés et protégés » unites over 170 cities and villages containing a ZPPAUP with a means to share information about their heritage conservation experiences. (See www.an-patrimoine.org for more information.)
United States of America
New York City, New York
Los Angeles, California