If approved at the Aug. 10 meeting, a one to three year study into the concept would be included in the 2011 city budget process.
“One of the most important important aspects of designating an area a Heritage Conservation District (HCD) is that gives municipalities the power to control development applications, alterations to buildings and other property features within the district,” staff state in their report. The restrictions include both public and private properties.
Building owners would have to comply with the guidelines when improving or altering their buildings. Changes that previously didn't require a building permit could possibly require approval from Council, such as replacing windows and doors, painting, architectural adornments and other maintenance work, the report explained.
The idea is a recommendation from the city's 14 member Municipal Heritage Committee comprised of city staff, two councillors and citizens such as architects and academics, who wish to preserve the historical and culturally significant features of the city, from buildings to vegetation patterns.
If the planning committee approves the concept and a study is undertaken, property owners in the targeted areas would be consulted.
The HCD would follow the original 1887 subdivision plan for the downtown. Based on this plan, about 270 properties would be included in an initial study of the HCD.
Other cities, Kingston, London and Brampton, have already been involved in similar studies, staff said.
In Kingston 525 properties are being included in their HCD study while Brampton has close to 1,000 properties and eight areas of the city being assessed.