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Home / Business Aid & Grants /  Community Improvement Plan Incentives (CIP) / Building Facade Improvement Grant

Building Facade Improvement Grant

1. Purpose

The purpose of the Building Facade Improvement Grant is to assist property owners of existing buildings to maintain their long-term viability and to assist property owners of vacant properties/spaces in increasing the marketability of their property in order to secure tenants.

2. Policy Statement

Building Facade Improvement programs have been designed to assist property owners in revitalizing storefronts within the Community Improvement Project area.  The intent of this program is to encourage individual property owners to renovate/upgrade those portions of their businesses that are readily visible to the public from the street in high-traffic areas.

Many communities have introduced this program as an economic development tool for business retention.  Facade improvement will beautify the streetscape and enhance our community image and lifestyle so citizens have greater pride in the downtown, lakeshore, and hamlet areas.  It focuses on economic renewal through increased local trade and commerce, increased employment, tax income and tourism.

In the event that the budget remaining for the year is insufficient to fund all applications on hand, projects demonstrating the greatest impact to the community (i.e. job creation and total capital investment) will be chosen for funding.

3. Grant Amount Available

The grant amount available for this program is up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000) per property (excluding HST), based on a fifty/fifty (50/50) matching cash contribution of the applicant. The grant amount will be calculated based on fifty percent (50%) of the actual cost of the project.

4. Eligible Areas

The program is available in the urban, hamlet, and lakeshore areas.

5. Eligible Applicants

The program is available to property owners only. Tenants are not eligible.

6. Eligible Projects and Costs

  1. Type of Buildings: All non-residential buildings are eligible properties.
  2. Grant Available for Existing Structures with High-Volume Street Visibility: Eligible facades must be an existing storefront retail property in a downtown, hamlet or lakeshore area with high-volume street visibility.
  3. Eligible Costs: Examples of eligible facade improvements include, but are not limited to: masonry cleaning, restoration and stabilization; installation of storefront awnings; redesign of storefronts; window repair and restoration; installation of appropriate signage; painting of woodwork; renovation of storefronts; replacement or repair of cornices, eaves, parapets, and other architectural features; or entranceway modifications.
  4. Ineligible Costs: Improvements not eligible include: landscaping, building insulation, roof work, and interior work. In-kind contributions are not eligible costs.

7. Other Eligibility Requirements

The following eligibility requirements shall apply to all of the Building Facade Improvement Grant:

  1. Required Documentation: Submission of drawings and/or plans may be required as part of the application.
  2. Application and Approval Required before Work Commences: All Applicants shall submit an application for the specific program(s) to Norfolk County prior to the commencement of any works. Financial incentives offered in the Community Improvement Plan will not be offered retroactively for costs incurred prior to the approval of the application.
  3. Tax Arrears, Other Payments and Claims: Lands or buildings shall not be eligible to participate in the program if they have any tax arrears or any other legal claim, lien, or order that may adversely affect title of the property, other than a mortgage in good standing. All utilities and any other municipal financial obligations must be up to date.
  4. Assignee Permission: Approved grants are not transferable to any other property, but may be transferred to a new owner of an approved property, provided the new owner meets and agrees to the terms and conditions of the grant.
  5. Maximum Grants Available: The total amount of financial incentives in the form of grants (where Community Improvement Programs are combined) shall not exceed twenty thousand dollars ($20,000).
  6. Cost of Rehabilitation: The total value of grants received for a subject property shall not exceed the cost of rehabilitating the lands and buildings.
  7. Evidence of Completed Work: Norfolk County may undertake an audit of work completed and associated costs if it is deemed necessary.
  8. Public Disclosure of Information: Information regarding the grant amount issued, the nature of the project and photographs thereof, the total investment of the project by the private sector, and the address of the property to which the grants are associated are all public information that will be included in promotional material and/or in a media release. Applicants will be required to allow this information to be released to the public and to participate in public reviews of the program in future.
  9. Priority Applications: In the event that the budget remaining for the year is insufficient to fund all applications on hand, projects demonstrating the greatest impact to the community (i.e. job creation and total capital investment) will be chosen for funding. Norfolk County may discontinue or cancel a program at the sole discretion of Council.
  10. Grant Funding Availability: As part of the annual budget deliberations, Council will review the availability of funds for grant purposes.
  11. Project Compliance: All works approved through the Community Improvement Plan shall comply with all Municipal policies and standards, including zoning, design guidelines (if any), and heritage matters, and will be subject to planning and development approvals and building permits pursuant to the Ontario Building Code.
  12. Outstanding Work Orders: Any outstanding work orders registered against the subject property must be satisfied prior to the grant being made, or be satisfied as part of the proposed work.
  13. Agreement: By signing the Application Form, all Applicants that are approved to receive a Building Facade Improvement Grant have entered into an agreement with Norfolk County agreeing to abide by the conditions of this Policy.
  14. Encroachments: Where a sign, awning or lighting projects onto the municipal road allowance, the grant will be conditional upon the Applicant entering into an encroachment agreement with Norfolk County.

8. Implementation Procedure

  1. Applicant: The Applicant should arrange a pre-application meeting or consultation with staff in order to determine program eligibility, proposed scope of work and project timing.
  2. Application Process: The Applicant must submit an application, including a detailed proposal and at least two estimates for consideration, prior to commencement of any works. The General Manager of Development and Cultural Services, or designate, shall review each application to ensure the eligibility of the Applicant and shall approve successful applications in accordance with the provisions of the Policy.
  3. Disclosure of Tax Arrears, Liens, Orders, Claims, etc.: If lands or buildings have any tax arrears or any other legal claim, lien or order that may adversely affect title of the property, other than a mortgage in good standing, this information shall be disclosed by the Applicant when applying.
  4. Approval Period: Written confirmation of the commitment will be given and will be valid for six (6) months. If eligible improvements are not completed within this time, the commitment may receive a justifiable extension to a maximum of 12 months, at the General Manager’s discretion.

9. Project Completion

  1. Inspection of Project: The Chief Building Official, or designate, will inspect and approve improvements of the building upon completion, as required.
  2. Project Compliance: Improvements must be consistent with any existing design guidelines or other policies.
  3. Consistency with Proposed Project: For the grant to be paid, the final project must be significantly consistent with the project outlined at the application stage. Otherwise, staff may refuse to issue a grant.
  4. Demolition Forfeits Grant: If a building is demolished prior to the completion of the related work, the grant is forfeited and will be recovered by Norfolk County.

10. Grant Calculation

The maximum grant for a project under this program shall be no more than fifty percent (50%) of eligible costs (excluding HST) based on a fifty/fifty (50/50) matching cash contribution of the applicant, to a maximum of ten thousand dollars ($10,000).  Eligible costs shall be the original estimate or the actual cost, whichever is less. In-kind contributions are not eligible costs.

11. Grant Payment

The grant will be payable upon completion of the works, submission of paid invoices, proof of payment (cancelled cheques or bank records), and final inspection of any works covered by the program.