Designating and Restoring a Historic Resource
Designating a Historic Resource
Designation is the highest level of Municipal recognition and adds the site to Lacombe’s Municipal Register of Historic Resources. In order to be eligible for designation, the site must have a Statement of Significance attached to it.
Owners should keep in mind that once designated:
- A site/building cannot be demolished
- Inappropriate changes cannot occur, and any alterations must be in character with the original structure
- The site will be maintained in a fair to good condition
- Any modifications, restoration, or rehabilitation to the character-defining elements must have approval prior to work being started
- A caveat will be placed on the property title
- The site becomes eligible for incentives at various government levels.
There are, however, numerous misunderstandings about the designation and what it affects. A few of these are listed below, and owners are encouraged to contact the HRC with any questions.
Does designation prevent renovations to a property?
Absolutely not. Designation protects specific features listed in a site’s Statement of Significance, and these Character Defining Elements are generally exterior features. Interior work, such as bathroom or kitchen upgrades and renovations, will face no extra bureaucracy or red tape compared to a typical property. Sometimes interior elements, such as tin ceilings in a commercial property, are listed in the SOS, so that specific element would have to be preserved. Larger scale work, such as building additions, is also possible. If designated, any work requiring a City building permit would require HRC approval.
Will it be hard to sell my property in the future?
There are many factors that go into decision-making in purchasing a house. We have found that the owners of heritage properties almost always have great pride in their property and sought it out specifically for its heritage characteristics. People looking to buy a heritage site often are the same sort of individuals – they are looking for a heritage site to care for and take pride in. The added element of formal designation rarely affects the resale price. Heritage BC collected statistics from several reports and found 97.8% of heritage properties in Canada did as well or better than non-heritage properties in the real estate market. It is, however, important to retain a real estate agent who understands what designation means and does not make any false assumptions.
Will designation lead to my home insurance increasing?
The short answer is, no, it shouldn’t. That said, heritage groups across Canada have found that insurance providers have many misunderstandings about what designation means, particularly as different levels of designation (ie municipal vs provincial) involve different processes. Two large assumptions from insurers are that replacement must involve exact materials with which elements were originally built (often assuming high costs and specialty contractors) and that in the unfortunate case of destruction 100% replacement is required. At this time, the insurance industry is undergoing surveys and research that are expected to streamline the understanding of insurance implications. At the Municipal level, the HRC expects work of any kind to adhere to guidelines outlined in the Standards & guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada. We encourage owners of designated properties to contact us about any concerns as our primary goal is to ensure the long life of Lacombe’s historic places.
The formal process of designating a site as a Municipal Historic Resource in Lacombe is outlined in the Heritage Management Plan (PDF) Appendix A, and all associated forms can be found in subsequent appendices.
Below is a visual outline of the process, and interested parties are encouraged to contact either the City of Lacombe’s Planning and Development office or the HRC to discuss designation.