Heritage Conservation FAQ's

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The following are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding Heritage Conservation.

What does designation mean?

Designation under the Ontario Heritage Act gives a property special legal status. This legal status is designed to protect cultural heritage resources located on the property. Although designation status is registered on the title of the property and requires certain actions on the part of a property owner, the owner retains control of the property. 

Is my property designated or listed?

There are approximately 1400 properties that have been identified as having cultural heritage value in the City of Kingston. Properties that are designated are protected either individually under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act, or as part of a Heritage Conservation District under Part V.

Listed properties have architectural or historical significance and are protected from demolition. You can look up the heritage status of your property via the Heritage Property Register.

To officially find out the status of your property, or to obtain additional information on designating your property, contact heritage staff at heritage@cityofkingston.ca.

What does "designation" not do?

  • Designation does not prohibit or negatively affect the sale of a designated property. Some studies have even shown that designation actually positively affects resale value.
  • Designation does not oblige the owner to restore and maintain the building beyond what is expected of any property owner.
  • Designation does not affect the permitted uses of the property (under zoning).
  • Designation does not prohibit the development or alteration of the property, but approval from the Heritage Kingston committee is required if exterior changes to the property are contemplated.
  • Designation does not permit public access to your property.

What is the Heritage Kingston Committee?

The Heritage Kingston committee, is an advisory body to City Council in all matters pertaining to Part IV and Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act.

The function of the committee is to advise Council on local heritage matters and to assist the Council in carrying out its heritage conservation program.

Heritage Kingston makes recommendations regarding applications for new designated properties, alterations to designated properties, loans, grants and the development of an inventory of designated and listed properties. The committee also serves as an advocate for architectural conservation by working closely with City Council and other municipal departments regarding heritage issues.

All members are volunteers from the community and typically meet on the first Monday of each month; however, the Monday meeting may be scheduled in an alternate week. A list of meeting dates is provided on the Heritage Permits page under the Application Deadlines tab.

What changes require a heritage permit?

You will be required to submit a heritage permit application (via DASH) for any plans to make alterations or renovations to the exterior of a designated property. You are also required to submit a heritage permit application for any new construction within a Heritage Conservation District.

A designated property's external elements include, but are not limited to, a building's roof, porch, steps, windows, trim, and the re-pointing of masonry, major landscaping, and painting the exterior where the colour scheme will differ from the original colour.

Some designated heritage properties also include protection of interior features; please contact Heritage & Urban Design staff to see if your property has an internal designation.

Owners of listed properties are encouraged to discuss their plans of alteration or renovation with Heritage staff and the Heritage Kingston for free advice and assistance and to take advantage of the Heritage Kingston's resources that may otherwise not be available.

The owner of a designated property must also seek Council approval to demolish any part of a designated property.

Can I pre-consult with the committee and staff?

We recommend you contact the City's Heritage staff to determine whether or not a pre-consultation or site visit is appropriate for your application. Pre-consultation is free and both City staff and the Municipal Heritage Committee are very willing to discuss your proposed renovations, provide advice and help where they can.

Also, should you choose to pre-consult, you are likely to develop a better application – making the process easier for you.

Even if you are only thinking about making alterations or renovations to your heritage property, an appointment can offer you excellent advice on the application process and the architectural and historic preservation of your property.

What is the process for heritage approval?

Should your proposed alteration and/or demolition plans require heritage approval either through staff or Council you will be required to submit a heritage permit application (via DASH) and follow the process as described on the Heritage Permit page. Staff are available to answer any questions regarding obtaining your Heritage Permit.

Where can I pick-up an application or receive more information?

Applications are available at the following locations:

For more information please email heritage@cityofkingston.ca or call 613-546-4291 ext. 3180.

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