Frequently Asked Questions about HCDs
Q: Is this going to affect the value of my property?
A: In fact, property values generally rise in HCDs more consistently than in surrounding districts. A study was done in 2009 by the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario entitled Heritage Districts Work! HCD designation offers a neighbourhood a significant level of protection against development that might alter its character and protects home owner investment. Think about the reasons you chose to live in Baby Point; you’ll know right away what we mean. It’s a unique place! See http://www.arconserv.ca/
Q: But what if I do want to make changes to the exterior of my home that are visible from the street?
A: If you request a building permit related to exterior changes that are visible from the street, the City’s Heritage Preservation Services section will be notified to ensure that the planned changes are in keeping with the Character of the Neighbourhood Guidelines established by the community during the HCD Study.
If you don’t require a building permit (eg, new windows), there is no involvement on the part of the City. Consultation with Preservation Services will help ensure that the change fits with the character of the neighbourhood, and is recommended.
Q: Will I be subject to additional paperwork and red tape as a result of the need for review by Heritage Preservation Services?
A: Usually not. Heritage Preservation Services will review your building permit request and building plans at the same time as the City’s other departments. If your proposal conforms to the heritage guidelines for the neighbourhood, the approval process should take no longer than normal. Property owners also have a right to appeal an unfavourable decision.
Q: Will HCD affect my property insurance premium?
A: Designation doesn’t place any additional requirements on your insurer and therefore should not affect premiums.
Q: Will I have to restore my house to its original appearance?
A: No, you aren’t required to make any changes to the appearance of your house, not even to regular maintenance (eg, painting)
Q: How does a Heritage Conservation District designation get established anyway?
A: When a neighbourhood is selected for consideration, the Ontario Heritage Act requires that a study be carried out to provide background to the historical, architectural and character-defining features that make the area special. Based on this work, design guidelines are developed. A key part of this work involves consultation with the community. The City’s Heritage Preservation Services Department is also involved. When the study is completed, City Council will be asked to pass a bylaw to establish the HCD and implement the District Plan. See this URL for more information about the evaluation study: http://www1.toronto.ca/city_of_toronto/city_planning/urban_design/files/pdf/hcd_policies.pdf
Q: There are houses in Baby Point which are not part of the original development. Will they be treated differently than the older homes?
A: The background study will evaluate the different components of the neighbourhood and may well recommend different approaches or level of protection for some of the homes which were not part of the original development.
Q: How is a Heritage Conservation District Application funded?
A: City Council does not fund projects whose purpose is to obtain designation of a specific region of the city as a Heritage Conservation District. Essential to the process is the study or plan for the area, which provides background to the historical, architectural and character-defining features making an area, street or neighbourhood special. The community is encouraged to participate in the process; in fact, there is an assumption that they will arrange or provide funds for the study to be done by Heritage Preservation Services.
However, Ward 13 Councillor Sarah Doucette has already ear-marked funds for this study related to a recent amendment to the City of Toronto Planning Act. The provision of the funds for this purpose was confirmed with Councillor Doucette and the Toronto Preservation Board in March 2015 at the time of the potential HCD Study Announcement.