Hamilton committee agrees demolition process needs overhaul

News Aug 22, 2020 by Kevin Werner Ancaster News

Hamilton’s planning staff will examine how to make the demolition permit application process more transparent to the public to prevent historical buildings from being taken down.

The Ancaster Village Heritage Community sent a letter and document to council in July requesting that the city’s demolition application be revised to prevent buildings such as the former historic Brandon House on Wilson Street from being demolished without a proper process.

“Demolition decisions taken by staff have resulted in the loss of important buildings and created empty lots,” stated the group. “Demolition is not a private matter. Demolition may spark development or may result in a vacant lot.”

Even though the application to demolish the Brandon House followed the city’s protocols, removing the building caught most residents and heritage advocates off-guard.

Jim MacLeod of the Ancaster Village Heritage Community said the removal of the Brandon House was “stealth demolition,” especially when it was conducted at the height of the coronavirus pandemic last March.

The Brandon House had been on the city’s heritage inventory list, but it wasn’t designated a historical building. If it had been, there would have been a 60-day requirement for planning staff to delay issuing the permit.

The heritage group also wants council to have the final authority over most demolition applications. MacLeod said when council delegated demolition permit applications to staff, it left “no accountability to the public with decisions made behind closed doors.”

He said prior to changes to the 2008 planning bylaw all demolition permits had been sent to council for review. But the 2009 demolition control bylaw allowed “almost total staff authority” that ensured decisions were “made behind closed doors.”

The group wants any demolition applications approved by council should apply to structures older than 90 years.

“This would alleviate a lot of the community concerns about structures that are historical, but which have not been considered for some sort of heritage status,” said the group.

 The city’s municipal heritage committee agreed on Aug. 20 with the Ancaster group’s proposal.

Janice Brown of the Durand neighbourhood, said “we don’t need another Brandon House to happen again. They would like to see council take control again. There needs to be more direction.”

Graham Carrol agreed that the city needs “a better way for the demolition process to happen.”

Bill Janssen, a former city employee, was also on board with a revised demolition application process.

“I’m impressed with the Ancaster group. A lot of what they have makes sense,” said Janssen.

Both Steve Robichaud, director of planning and Miranda Brunton, cultural heritage planner agreed to review the Ancaster group’s request and the demolition application process and present a report to the committee. No timeline was given as to when the report would be completed.

“We can review it in depth (and) determine what is the best path,” said Brunton.

Ancaster heritage group aims to prevent ‘stealth demolitions’

News Aug 22, 2020 by Kevin Werner Ancaster News

Hamilton’s planning staff will examine how to make the demolition permit application process more transparent to the public to prevent historical buildings from being taken down.

The Ancaster Village Heritage Community sent a letter and document to council in July requesting that the city’s demolition application be revised to prevent buildings such as the former historic Brandon House on Wilson Street from being demolished without a proper process.

“Demolition decisions taken by staff have resulted in the loss of important buildings and created empty lots,” stated the group. “Demolition is not a private matter. Demolition may spark development or may result in a vacant lot.”

Even though the application to demolish the Brandon House followed the city’s protocols, removing the building caught most residents and heritage advocates off-guard.

Related Content

Jim MacLeod of the Ancaster Village Heritage Community said the removal of the Brandon House was “stealth demolition,” especially when it was conducted at the height of the coronavirus pandemic last March.

The Brandon House had been on the city’s heritage inventory list, but it wasn’t designated a historical building. If it had been, there would have been a 60-day requirement for planning staff to delay issuing the permit.

The heritage group also wants council to have the final authority over most demolition applications. MacLeod said when council delegated demolition permit applications to staff, it left “no accountability to the public with decisions made behind closed doors.”

He said prior to changes to the 2008 planning bylaw all demolition permits had been sent to council for review. But the 2009 demolition control bylaw allowed “almost total staff authority” that ensured decisions were “made behind closed doors.”

The group wants any demolition applications approved by council should apply to structures older than 90 years.

“This would alleviate a lot of the community concerns about structures that are historical, but which have not been considered for some sort of heritage status,” said the group.

 The city’s municipal heritage committee agreed on Aug. 20 with the Ancaster group’s proposal.

Janice Brown of the Durand neighbourhood, said “we don’t need another Brandon House to happen again. They would like to see council take control again. There needs to be more direction.”

Graham Carrol agreed that the city needs “a better way for the demolition process to happen.”

Bill Janssen, a former city employee, was also on board with a revised demolition application process.

“I’m impressed with the Ancaster group. A lot of what they have makes sense,” said Janssen.

Both Steve Robichaud, director of planning and Miranda Brunton, cultural heritage planner agreed to review the Ancaster group’s request and the demolition application process and present a report to the committee. No timeline was given as to when the report would be completed.

“We can review it in depth (and) determine what is the best path,” said Brunton.

Ancaster heritage group aims to prevent ‘stealth demolitions’

News Aug 22, 2020 by Kevin Werner Ancaster News

Hamilton’s planning staff will examine how to make the demolition permit application process more transparent to the public to prevent historical buildings from being taken down.

The Ancaster Village Heritage Community sent a letter and document to council in July requesting that the city’s demolition application be revised to prevent buildings such as the former historic Brandon House on Wilson Street from being demolished without a proper process.

“Demolition decisions taken by staff have resulted in the loss of important buildings and created empty lots,” stated the group. “Demolition is not a private matter. Demolition may spark development or may result in a vacant lot.”

Even though the application to demolish the Brandon House followed the city’s protocols, removing the building caught most residents and heritage advocates off-guard.

Related Content

Jim MacLeod of the Ancaster Village Heritage Community said the removal of the Brandon House was “stealth demolition,” especially when it was conducted at the height of the coronavirus pandemic last March.

The Brandon House had been on the city’s heritage inventory list, but it wasn’t designated a historical building. If it had been, there would have been a 60-day requirement for planning staff to delay issuing the permit.

The heritage group also wants council to have the final authority over most demolition applications. MacLeod said when council delegated demolition permit applications to staff, it left “no accountability to the public with decisions made behind closed doors.”

He said prior to changes to the 2008 planning bylaw all demolition permits had been sent to council for review. But the 2009 demolition control bylaw allowed “almost total staff authority” that ensured decisions were “made behind closed doors.”

The group wants any demolition applications approved by council should apply to structures older than 90 years.

“This would alleviate a lot of the community concerns about structures that are historical, but which have not been considered for some sort of heritage status,” said the group.

 The city’s municipal heritage committee agreed on Aug. 20 with the Ancaster group’s proposal.

Janice Brown of the Durand neighbourhood, said “we don’t need another Brandon House to happen again. They would like to see council take control again. There needs to be more direction.”

Graham Carrol agreed that the city needs “a better way for the demolition process to happen.”

Bill Janssen, a former city employee, was also on board with a revised demolition application process.

“I’m impressed with the Ancaster group. A lot of what they have makes sense,” said Janssen.

Both Steve Robichaud, director of planning and Miranda Brunton, cultural heritage planner agreed to review the Ancaster group’s request and the demolition application process and present a report to the committee. No timeline was given as to when the report would be completed.

“We can review it in depth (and) determine what is the best path,” said Brunton.