Incentives for Character Home retention: City survey ends June 18 (Sun)

cov-character-home-zoning-review-landing-imageThe City of Vancouver is conducting a Character Home Zoning Review. Below is a message from the Heritage Action Plan Team. Deadline for the online survey is June 18.

Official info from the City:

Please go to the above link and click on the “Take the Questionnaire” button.

Open houses were held in May. Click here to download the information boards:

At the bottom we provide selected links for background reading.


There is still time to fill out our online questionnaire on the proposed zoning incentives and draft design guidelines for Character Home Retention. The questionnaire is open until this Sunday, June 18.

In the fall of 2016 we asked members of the public for feedback on possible options for encouraging retention. Incorporating what we heard, we are now seeking public feedback on the proposed zoning incentives and draft design guidelines. Your feedback will help inform recommendations to City Council later in the year to encourage retention of pre-1940 character homes in single-family neighbourhoods.

The proposed zoning incentives are optional for owners of character homes and no changes are being proposed to zoning for new house construction. In addition, the proposed zoning incentives would apply to single-family neighbourhoods across the entire City, not only those with especially high concentrations of pre-1940 homes.

Please review the information boards from the May 2017 open houses, then share your thoughts. The questionnaire may be accessed here.

Heritage Action Plan Team



Elizabeth Murphy writes frequently on Vancouver planning and policies. Here are some recent pieces she has written in local newspapers on this topic.

Character house zoning backpedaled: Saving character houses needs incentives and zoning (March 17, 2017). Excerpt: The city is moving away from downzoning, especially on non-character lots. This is a good thing because much public pushback was generated when they went too far by not adequately balancing the economics. But now the city must be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater…Incentives for retention do need a supportive conditional zoning framework for them to work, as is the case in Kitsilano. But the economics must be very carefully balanced so that it is fair to owners, allowing the retention option to provide property values that are roughly equal to – or in some cases greater than – those resulting from the non-character new construction option. This has been achieved in Kitsilano, and the city should learn from past successes.

Character house zoning: Saving Vancouver character houses through incentives (March 2, 2017). Excerpt: The City of Vancouver is doing a character house zoning review to consider saving character houses through incentives such as increased size, number of units, and infill. This retains character while accommodating growth in a more sustainable way. Although this is good in principle, additional options need to be considered. There is an urgent need for the review. Since city zoning rules were changed in 2009, demolitions increased to over 1,000 a year with replacement construction of much larger and more expensive “monster” houses. On average, home demolitions have increased 80 per cent between 2009 and 2015, and by 73 per cent on average for pre-1940 homes.

Heritage and character houses: City hall must act quickly to save Vancouver heritage homes. (December 3, 2016) Excerpt: The City of Vancouver is finally considering options to create incentives for character house retention. After years of character and heritage houses being rampantly demolished and replaced by ugly new monster houses, it is way overdue for changes to address this issue.

Saving Character Homes (May 31, 2014)
Opinion: We’ve saved character homes before Vancouver could improve policies to reduce demolitions of character buildings



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