A character house is defined as ‘an existing building that, in the opinion of the Director of Planning, has sufficient heritage character to justify its conservation’. A character house is typically a one family dwelling constructed prior to January 1, 1940 that meets the following character merit criteria as established by the Director of Planning.
An assessment is required to determine if a house is considered to have character merit and a candidate for discretionary incentives in zoning, including conditional floor area, infill or multiple conversion dwelling, and development relaxations. The following are the minimum criteria:
(a) Must have: (i) Original massing and primary roof form - Alterations/additions that are subsidiary to the original massing and primary roof form, such as dormers, are not considered to have altered the character of the house.
(b) Plus any four of the following:
(i) Entry - Original open front porch or veranda, or only partially filled in, or other original entry feature.
(ii) Cladding - Original cladding or replacement cladding consistent with the era when the house was built.
(iii) Window Openings - Original location, size and shape (50 percent or more). The windows themselves may not be original.
(iv) Period Details- Two or more period details, such as fascia, window casing or trim, eave brackets, soffits, exposed beam or joist ends, half-timbering, decorative shingling, porch columns, original wood doors, entry transom/sidelights, decorative or feature windows (special shapes, bay windows, crafted/leaded glass), brick or stone chimneys, piers or foundations, secondary porch, turrets, etc.
(v) Streetscape Context - The house is part of a context of 2 or more character houses on the same block face (including the subject house). In assessing the streetscape, at least 2 houses on either side of the subject house should be included.
3500 Ash Street Vancouver is an excellent example on this link.