New changes for proposed Queen’s Park Conservation Area

500-block Guy and Ethel Simpson House c.1909 photo credit: Paul Fuoco

City Council working to address concerns of homeowners with small homes in the proposed Queen’s Park Conservation Area

After three years of research and discussion, the City-appointed Queen’s Park Working Group (a group of 12 residents who represent a cross-section of Queen’s Park stakeholders, including representation from the Queen’s Park Residents Association, the New Westminster Heritage Preservation Society; and the real estate and the architectural community) concluded that an HCA is the only way to control demolitions, new construction and renovations to the exterior façade (front and side) of homes in the neighbourhood.

A Heritage Conservation Area (HCA) is an area management tool that offers protection for existing buildings and design control for new construction. It’s designed to:

  • retain heritage assets in a community,
  • ensure any new development is compatible with the neighbourhood’s existing character, and
  • provide design guidelines for any new development.

The City has proposed two protection categories for Queen’s Park:

Advanced Protection Homes built in 1940 and earlier will require a Heritage Alteration Permit from the City prior to obtaining other required permits – but only for alterations to the front façade, sides or roofline. Interior renovations or additions to the rear of homes are not part of this process and will take place as presently allowed. Some homes in this category will still be approved for demolition, and redevelopment or subdivisions will still take place.

Limited Protection For homes built after 1940, the current permit process would continue for a new building or for subdivision of a property.

 In response to community concerns raised about property values for smaller homes or lots in the Advanced Protection category, the City is proposing these options:

Special Limited Protection – The City is proposing this new sub-category to the Advanced Protection level for smaller homes and lots. If the HCA is approved, Coriolis Consulting will begin a detailed analysis of the heritage, economic and renovation potential for homes that fall into Special Limited Protection category. The affected properties will either be reclassified as Advanced or Limited when an HCA review takes place in 2019.

Restoration rather than demolition can be achieved with incentives: City staff will begin an exploration, consultation and implementation process for proposed incentives for Advanced Category homes (built in 1940 or earlier) if the HCA is approved. Some of the incentives under consideration include:

  • an increased floor space ratio (FSR) of between 0.1 and 0.2 FSR
  • full basements exempted from FSR calculations – a livability issue for people in small houses without basements. Under this potential incentive, homeowners could create or improve their existing lower level to add more living space or possibly a rental or in-law suite.
  • stratification to multi-dwelling properties; and subdivision to small lot properties.

City Council has approved mandatory design guidelines in the HCA that will apply to new residential homes, alterations to heritage buildings and landscape design to fit in with existing heritage homes on the street. The design guidelines are flexible and won’t be based on a specific era because best practice in architectural design for heritage areas is not to copy existing styles. They would instead be based on New Westminster’s traditional architectural character elements – referred to as “Traditional Style” – for incorporation into new builds.

This HCA updated endorsed and presented by: