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The Urban Design Section develops urban design policies and implementation strategies for the Town of Richmond Hill. Urban design staff work with stakeholders, other Town staff and the community to develop urban design guidelines, policy documents, and design strategies that guide the development and improvement of our built environment. Working within the Planning Division we participate in the new Official Plan process to help develop the future vision of the Town. Besides Official Plan Policies, the Urban Design group also provides input into secondary plans for new and existing neighbourhoods, reviews specific site plan submissions as part of the development approval process and provides design comments to other departments on projects with urban design concerns.
Urban Design considers the function, use and relationships of visible components of the Town to create attractive, safe, transit oriented, and memorable urban environments, and requires an integrated and comprehensive design process.
Urban Design Briefs/Guidelines/Study
The Heritage Section manages archaeology, built heritage and cultural heritage landscapes (the 'ABCs' of heritage planning) for the Town of Richmond Hill. Heritage staff work with stakeholders, standing Committees such as Heritage Richmond Hill, other Town staff, and citizens to administer heritage matters, answer requests to designate properties under the Ontario Heritage Act, publish resource documents, manage heritage databases, and develop policy documents and strategies that oversee heritage management throughout the Town.
Working within the Planning Division we participate in the new Official Plan process to help develop policies to manage the Town’s heritage resources. Besides Official Plan policies, Heritage staff also provide input on secondary plans for new and existing neighbourhoods, review specific development applications as part of the planning approvals process, and co-ordinate with the Environment & Infrastructure Services and Community Services Departments on the management of heritage resources under their jurisdiction.
A Heritage Permit is required to be submitted when an applicant is proposing an alteration to a designated property that is likely to affect the Reasons for Designation (as defined in the designating by-law). The owner must submit the completed application form to the Heritage Planner and have it approved by Council prior to undertaking the proposed alterations.
Heritage Permit Application [PDF]
Inventory of Buildings of Architectural & Historical Importance
Please note that the Inventory of Buildings of Architectural and Historical Importance is not the official Town Register as per the Ontario Heritage Act, section 27 Part IV, and therefore, has no legal status. It is meant only as a research tool for residents.
Inventory of Buildings of Architectural and Historical Importance [PDF]
Should you wish to confirm the heritage status of a property in Richmond Hill, including ongoing issues such as intention to designate, or HRH recommendations, you must request a Heritage Status (clearance) letter from the Town's Planning & Regulatory Services Department. (current fee for this service is $75). If you wish only to confirm the current status of the Register, you can request an excerpt from the Town Clerk's Office, as the Clerk is the holder of the Register.
Properties can be designated under Part IV or Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act.
Individual properties are designated under Part IV of the Act and can be initiated by a letter or e-mail from the property owner to Heritage staff requesting designation. Written or photographic documentation supporting the correspondence will aid in the initial research for these requests.
Multiple adjacent properties can be designated individually under Part IV, but Part V of the Act permits the designation of Heritage Conservation Districts including two or more properties under a single by-Law. Participation in the designation request by a substantial number of property owners should be demonstrated, along with some photographic and written documentation on the proposed district: heritage staff can help with how this information can be collected.
Village Core Façade Assistance Program
The Village Core Façade Assistance Program is designed to provide financial assistance to Yonge Street property owners in Downtown Richmond Hill (Major Mackenzie Drive to Crosby/Benson Avenue) for improvements to the exterior façade of their building. The financial assistance takes the form of matching funds and is offered to eligible property owners and tenants (authorized by the owner) subject to conformity with the Village Core Façade Assistance Program Guidelines [PDF] and Letter of Understanding [PDF].
Village Core Façade Assistance Program Details
Gormley Heritage Conservation District
The Gormley Heritage Conservation District (HCD) came into effect on December 13, 2009. The HCD includes the village core of Gormley and is intended to preserve, protect and enhance the character of this unique asset within the Town of Richmond Hill.
Gormley Heritage Conservation District Inventory [PDF]
Gormley Heritage Conservation District Study [PDF]
Gormley Heritage Conservation District Plan [PDF]
Richmond Hill Heritage Grant Program
Owners of designated heritage properties are invited to apply for the 2015 Heritage Grant Fund. Through this new program, owners of designated heritage properties are able to apply for a matching grant of 50% for eligible restoration projects, up to a maximum of $5,000 per project. A total of $30,000 is available annually through the fund. Grants are reviewed on a first-come-first-served basis.
Applications are accepted from March 1 to 31.
Heritage Grant Application and Terms of Reference [PDF]
In October 2009, the Town of Richmond Hill completed an Archaeological and First Nations Policy Study, which provides an overall description of the archaeological history of Richmond Hill and identifies known native village sites, as well as additional areas of archaeological potential. This Policy Study forms the basis for identifying development applications that may require Archaeological Assessments. If requested to complete an Archaeological Assessment, please refer to the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport for the associated triggers and different stages. Note: All Archaeological Assessments must be completed by a licensed archaeologist registered in the Province of Ontario.
Cultural Heritage Impact Assessments
Under the Ontario Heritage Act a municipality may require the completion of a Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment (CHIA) as part of the development approval process. The Town of Richmond Hill has developed a Terms of Reference for the preparation of a CHIA, which is also referenced in the Town's development application guidelines. The following Terms of Reference for a CHIA provides owners and heritage professionals with a clear understanding of its purpose, when it may be required, who can prepare a CHIA, its scope and content as well as a list of links and additional resources to assist in its preparation. Please contact the Heritage and Urban Design Planner at 905-771-5529 if you have any questions regarding the process.
Richmond Hill Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment Terms of Reference [PDF]
Cultural Heritage Assessments
The Town of Richmond Hill has developed a Terms of Reference to assist in the preparation of a Cultural Heritage Assessment (CHA) which is to be used to assess the potential cultural heritage value of a property where there is no potential impact on the heritage resource. The Terms of Reference for a CHA provides property owners and heritage professionals with a clear understanding of its purpose, when/how it should be used, who can prepare a report, the content as well as a list of links and additional resources to assist in its preparation. Please contact the Heritage and Urban Design Planner at 905-771-5529 if you have any questions regarding the process.
Richmond Hill Cultural Heritage Assessment Terms of Reference [PDF]
Heritage Building Specialists in Ontario
In order to better assist owners who wish to undertake work related to their heritage property or prepare a Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment, the Town of Richmond Hill has prepared a list of consultants within the Province of Ontario that have documented work experience and products specializing in heritage projects. The list includes: heritage planners, heritage architects and designers, heritage contractors, architectural elements and products as well as architectural photographers. The list is not a list of preferred consultants, and by no means exhaustive, but is intended to provide owners with a starting point for finding resources relating to their heritage property. For more information, contact the Urban Design and Heritage Section at 905-771-5529.
Heritage Building Specialists in Ontario [PDF]