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Planning-based Incentives

How does it work?

Non-monetary incentives are usually planning tools that do not have a monetary value, but will have a financial impact on the property owner. They can be used as a bargaining tool by the municipality to encourage the conservation of heritage property within a development scheme. Non-monetary incentives can include transfer of land use density from a heritage property to another property owned by the developer; relaxation of zoning, subdivision, parking, loading or amenity requirements; and technical assistance or advice provided by the municipality.

Examples of non-monetary incentives:

  • Calgary (Alberta)– The city has several policies which provide non-monetary incentives for heritage conservation.
    • Density transfer for Heritage Conservation. Municipal historic resources located in the CM-2 Land Use District are eligible to transfer unused development potential to other sites within the same Land Use District. Council may continue to consider, on their merits, individual Direct Control applications for non-CM-2 proposals incorporating density transfer for heritage conservation purposes.
    • Commercial Conversion to Office Use of Existing Residential Buildings. A number of Area Redevelopment Plans in the inner city have policies related to the conversion of residential buildings to commercial use if the structure is listed on the City of Calgary’s Inventory of Potential Heritage Sites.
  • Edmonton (Alberta) – Under its 2008 policy to encourage the designation and rehabilitation of municipal historic resources, City Council may consider non-monetary rehabilitation incentives such as transfer of land use density, relaxation of parking, loading and amenity requirements and land transfers.
  • Vancouver (British Columbia) – The Heritage Management Plan for the city includes a program of incentives and protective measures aimed at promoting conservation of heritage resources. Incentives such as zoning bylaw, subdivision bylaw and parking by-law relaxations, density bonuses and transfers, and permit fast-tracking, encourage the restoration and continued use of heritage buildings. A heritage revitalization agreement may vary or supplement the provisions of a zoning bylaw, subdivision bylaw, heritage conservation bylaw, development cost levies bylaw, development permit, heritage alteration permit, establish the timing of agreement terms, and include other terms or conditions agreed to by parties. The terms of the heritage revitalization agreement supersede land use regulations and may vary use, density or sitting regulations.
  • Surrey (British Columbia)– Protected heritage buildings are eligible for consideration of equivalencies under some building code requirements. Non-monetary support can include regulatory adjustments such as certain relaxations to the particular zoning in order to allow a heritage building to be retained. Non-monetary support tools can also include technical assistance from City staff, commemoration with plaques, or other information guides.
  • Whitehorse (Yukon) – The city’s Heritage Incentive Policy allows Council to consider planning incentives such as spot zoning, modified setbacks, reduced parking requirements and other planning issues, if required, to conserve a heritage resource.