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Heritage Permit

You need a heritage permit to make changes to properties designated under the Ontario Heritage Act . The Act allows governments to designate individual properties and districts in Ontario a part of cultural heritage, value or interest. Properties are either designated individually under Part IV of the Act or within a Heritage Conservation District under Part V of the Act .

When is a heritage permit required?

You need a permit before making any change to a designated property that will, or is likely to, result in the loss, removal, obstruction, replacement, damage or destruction of one or more heritage features on the property.

You need a heritage permit for any work that also requires a building permit, demolition permit or other formal approvals by the Municipality and other government agencies. Before beginning any work on a designated property, contact municipal staff to see if you need a heritage permit.

Examples of work that may need a heritage permit include:

  • All new construction including additions to existing structures and new independent structures such as garages, porches, decks and steps
  • Alteration, addition, removal or replacement of windows, doors, porches, verandahs, chimneys, cladding, roofing material, trim and other exterior details of a structure
  • Demolition of a structure or part of a structure
  • New signage (would require a sign permit)
  • Hard landscaping such as the alteration, addition, removal or replacement of patios, fences, gates, trellises, arbours, gazebos, retaining walls and walkways (if included in the designation)

When is a heritage permit not required?

You do not need a heritage permit for routine upkeep and minor repairs that do not change the appearance of the property. Most internal changes to a building on a designated property do not require a heritage permit if the alterations do not affect the external appearance of the designated property. An exception to this is if an individually designated property has a designation by-law, which outlines specific interior elements to be preserved. Before starting any work on a designated property, contact municipal staff to see if a heritage permit is required.

Heritage permit process

You do not have to meet with staff before submitting a heritage permit application, but it is highly recommended. We can help review the work to be completed, offer suggestions and attempt to answer any questions you may have. These meetings can help simplify the process.

The designated property owner must submit a completed heritage permit application form. The application form must include information that gives staff and the Clarington Heritage Committee a clear understanding of the specific details and a visual representation of the proposed changes to the property. This may include drawings, pictures, written descriptions or other aids. A digital copy of all drawings and photos is highly recommended in addition to hard copies. There is no fee for a heritage permit application.

Once you submit the application, the Clarington Heritage Committee will review it. You can attend the committee meeting to discuss the proposal and answer any questions the committee may have. The committee will provide a recommendation to approve or deny the application.

The Director of Planning and Development Services has the authority to approve minor heritage permits as long as they do not have a significant negative impact on any heritage features of the property or district.

Municipal Council makes decisions on major heritage permit applications. For major applications, we will write a brief report and add the item to a Council agenda. If Council does not make a decision on a heritage permit application within 90 days of receiving the report, Council shall be viewed to have approved the application. If mutually agreed upon, an extension can be granted.

If the application is denied, you can appeal the decision to the Conservation Review Board (for alterations to individual properties designated under Part IV of the Act) or the Ontario Municipal Board (for demolition of individual properties designated under Part IV of the Act or for any work to property in a Heritage Conservation District under Part V of the Act ).


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40 Temperance Street
Bowmanville, ON L1C 3A6
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