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Delta taking another look at building permit levy

A heritage restoration fund created from a five percent levy on building permits hasn’t garnered a lot of interest
Nels Johnson Residence North Delta
Located in the historic Norwegian community of Annieville, the Nels Johnson Residence dates from 1928 and represents a time when Delta was developing rapidly due to booming agricultural, canning and fishing industries.

Changes have come to a city grant aimed at helping owners of heritage buildings complete renovations that preserve and protect their buildings’ heritage characteristics.

Council last week approved awarding a $5,473 Heritage Conservation Grant for the owner of the Nels Johnson Residence (Mackie Residence) at 10306 Main St.

The money will cover half the cost of exterior painting of the home, which was built in 1928.

It’s the first time a grant was given out with new criteria to encourage more homeowners of heritage structures to apply.

Created a couple of years ago, the heritage grant was created from a new five percent levy on building permits.

The fund still has a balance $319,925 after last week’s grant was awarded.

Since its creation, only a few homeowners applied for funding due to the requirements being found to be too onerous.

The city has since made a number of changes including reducing the number of required cost estimates from three to two for bigger renovations, modifying the legal documentation requirements for grant recipients proposing minor repairs and renovations, increasing the maximum annual grants from $15,000 to $30,000 as well as introducing an option for eligible property owners to apply for Delta’s Heritage Restoration Plan funding.

However, owners must still agree to include their buildings on the Delta Heritage Register and must also enter into a restrictive covenant to protect their buildings from demolition for a period of 10 years.

The levy may undergo further changes but also might not be around for much longer as council previously directed staff to review the five per cent heritage levy as part of a review of application fees.

That work is still ongoing.