Series S602 - Zoning Secretary's public hearings files

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Zoning Secretary's public hearings files

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0.64 m of textual records

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Administrative history

The Building Department was the City department responsible for enforcing the City's regulations regarding the construction of buildings in the city. When zoning regulations were passed, beginning in the 1920's, the Building Department became responsible for applying zoning regulations as part of its assessment of permit applications. The Department was founded as a discrete entity in the City administration in 1900; the Department was would up in 1967 by means of its amalgamation with the former Licenses Department to form the Permits and Licenses Department.

The Building Department arose out of City regulations relating to fire prevention in the 1890s. The first mention found of Building Inspectors in City records is the Fire Bylaw of 1892, which mentions appointment of Building Inspectors responsible for inspecting buildings and building sites, solely in regards to fire safety and ensuring safe disposal of felled trees and other plant debris when properties were initially cleared. Plumbing Inspectors--later made part of the Building Department--were first part of the Board of Health and Water Works departments. Building and plumbing inspection services were shuffled within the civic administration a number of times over the 1890s, until the creation of the Building Department in 1900, as authorised by the Building By-law no. 1900/366. In 1914, the Plumbing Department was moved from the Board of Health and amalgamated with the Building Department.

From 1900, the Building Department was made responsible for:
1) receiving applications for permits, including architectural drawings and specifications of proposed work, and collect application fees;
2) examining the same and ensure that the proposed structure is in accordance with the Building By-law;
3) issuing permits for the erection, enlargement or alteration of buildings, if said work is in accordance with the Building By-law;
4) keeping records of permits issued, including information about construction, sanitary appliances, heating and electrical systems, and elevators in permitted structures;
5) informing the City Manager, Superintendent of Water Works, and other interested departments of work permitted;
6) periodically inspecting structures in the course of construction or alteration to ensure compliance with the by-law and permit requirements;
7) notifying the Chief of Police in cases of violations of the by-law;
8) ordering the demolition of non-complying structures at the expense of the owner, contractor or architect, if the structure is deemed by the Inspector to be a hazard top public safety; and
9) safekeeping of drawings and specifications that formed part of a permit application.

In 1919, architect Arthur J. Bird was hired as chief Building Inspector; it may have been at this time that the position of head of the Building Department was renamed to City Architect. Shortly after this, an architectural unit was created in the department, which was made responsible for design of small City buildings, such as the City Morgue, police stations, public facilities, the original Juvenile Court and Juvenile Hall building, and the original buildings at the Vancouver City Airport. In 1933 the Architectural Unit was closed down when Bird was let go, and at that time the title of the head of the department reverted to Chief Building Inspector.

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Scope and content

Series consists of records documenting public hearings as special meetings of City Council, conducted to make determinations on re-zoning applications.

The records consist of Council zoning supporting documents, records created and accumulated by the Building Department's Zoning Secretary, who kept petitions, external correspondence, internal correspondence, and attachments (including plans) relating to City hearings on zoning matters until, until responsibility for re-zoning was transferred to the new Planning Department in 1952.

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For later records see the City Council and Office of the City Clerk fonds, series 42, "Public hearings - Council zoning supporting documents".

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