By providing financial incentives to business owners and/or business tenants in the Downtown Improvement Area, the Façade Improvement Program seeks to:
- Encourage the continued vitality and economic vitality of the commercial core in all seasons;
- Make the Town more attractive, inviting and pedestrian-friendly by encouraging consistency in urban design and signage while recognizing the importance of the existing historical architecture and the distinctive character within the community;
- Reinforce the commercial core as a focus for the community;
- Increase the marketability of the local business area by assisting building owners to attract and retain tenants;
- Provide incentives for redevelopment of Main Street as an attractive entrance to the Town; and
- Build civic pride among the business community and contribute to the quality of life of residents, workers and visitors in the Town.
Who Can Apply?
Building owners and tenants of buildings who operate a business in the Downtown Improvement Area may apply for grants under the Façade Improvement Program. Any applicant who does not own the property must provide written authorization from the owner to proceed with the application.
It is recommended that any person(s) interested in receiving additional information regarding this program or require assistance in completing this application contact Holly Bryce, CAO/Town Clerk at (705) 549-7453 to arrange an appointment to discuss the proposed application. Time is often saved by these preliminary discussions.
How Does The Program Work?
As part of the Annual Budget process, Council will determine the allocation of funds to the Façade Improvement Program for the current year. The availability of grant money is limited by the total amount of funding that has been allocated to the Façade Improvement Program.
Applications will be considered on a first come – first serve basis. However, where there are more applications than funding available, the Planning & Development Section may elect to recommend those applications to Council it believes will produce the greatest benefits for the community.
Façade Improvement Program grants may be approved for 30% or 50% of the proposed works based on the level of proposed improvements.
Examples of Grant Allocation
Project Budget Grant Allocation Over $3,000 50% up to a maximum of $2,000
Under $3,000 30% up to a maximum of $1,000
Business Signage 50% up to a maximum of $1,000
To apply for incentives under the Façade Improvement Program, an applicant is required to fully complete and submit the required application form including supporting documents (ie. designs/ drawings, quote or cost estimate, photos) to the CAO/Town Clerk. The application will not be accepted unless signed by the applicant. Where the applicant is not the owner of the property, the owner of the property must also sign.
There is no cost to make an application under the Façade Improvement Program.
What Improvements Are Eligible For Program Funding?
Primary consideration will be provided to street level storefront applications which address storefront design, street front transparency, façade enhancement to create “distinct” facades, increase street level uses and visual interest, preservation or enhancement of historical and architectural features, address pedestrian safety and access for the disabled, enhance and update or secure new business signage.
Additional consideration will be provided to upper façade which address the cornice and the fascia that cap the building front, the building’s upper storey’s, windows that give articulation and interest to the upper architecture and the piers that extend to ground level and visually support the façade and frame the storefront. To qualify, all upper façade applications must be in conjunction with storefront façade improvements and/or be part of an overall phased plan.
Work eligible under the program may include:
- Aesthetic exterior improvements such as painting or cleaning of the façade exterior, repair or replacement of storefront windows and doors, façade restoration of brickwork, wood, masonry and metal cladding, repair/replacement/ addition of awnings or canopies;
- Structural/safety replacement and repair for exterior façade (on the commercial side of the street only);
- Limited permanent interior improvements which improve the view of the retail space from the street and have regard for the functionality of the retail space to the pedestrian environment such as interior window display areas and back lighting;
- Entranceway modifications including provisions to improve accessibility for people with disabilities and mobility challenges in conjunction with improvements to the storefront façade;
- Exterior enhancement which create visual interest and variety at the sidewalk level, emphasizing active storefronts, orienting windows and doorways to the street. “Hard” landscaping such as walkways and planters will only be considered as supplementary works in addition to other storefront façade improvements or as part of the application of a phased in plan (subject to encroachment and other approvals);
- Heritage enhancements such as removal of exterior materials that cover architectural details or repair of original architectural elements (entablature, eaves, parapets) which form an integral part of the heritage property (excluding designated properties);
- Business signage in accordance with the Town of Penetanguishene by-laws and the Ontario Building Code and Regulations.
Work ineligible under the program may include:
- Interior repairs or enhancements;
- Structural work;
- Improvements to energy efficiency such as insulation;
- Typical roofing or regular maintenance;
- Improvements to meet building codes including mechanical or electrical work;
- Accessory buildings;
- Rehabilitation or improvements that affect designated properties may qualify for funding under the Town’s Heritage Tax Rebate Program.
What Other Requirements Must Be Met?
In order to receive a grant, all taxes, municipal utilities and any other municipal financial obligations on the property must be in good standing and any outstanding work orders (building, fire, and property standards) registered against the subject property must be satisfied.
Any applicant may initiate or proceed with work or improvements at “their own risk” between filing the application and receiving final approval. Beginning work at your own risk does not in any way guarantee approval. Any work initiated before the Façade Improvement Application is received by the Town of Penetanguishene is not eligible for funding.
Applicants who are eligible for the Town’s Heritage Tax Rebate Program will not be considered unless the works are associated with the business and not eligible for the tax rebate (ie. signage).
How Does The Application Process Work?
Applications for grants under the Façade Improvement Plan shall be submitted to the CAO/Town Clerk by the 1st day of each month to be eligible for review. Applications received after those dates may be held for the next review. If the application is deemed incomplete, the CAO/Town Clerk may request more information.
If a grant was approved in the previous calendar year, new applications for the same property will be processed after June 30th of the current year if grant money is available.
The application will be circulated to the Town’s Building Department, Clerk’s Department, Planning Department and Finance Department to confirm that there are no arrears or outstanding work orders applicable to the subject property and the application meets the
Town’s Strategic Plan, Official Plan, Zoning By-law, Building Code, Sign By-law and other applicable Town By-laws.
Town staff will conduct a visual inspection of the subject property in order to fully assess the application.
The CAO/Town Clerk will report to the Planning and Development Section with a recommendation to approve, approve with conditions or reject the application. Planning and Development Section shall make the final decision for approving or rejecting the application and conditions. The CAO/Town Clerk will advise the Downtown Improvement Committee of approved applications.
If the application is approved, the CAO/Town Clerk will provide the Applicant (or the property owner if different than the applicant) the standard Letter of Agreement with an outline of the grant. The Letter of Agreement is to be signed and returned to the Town of Penetanguishene within 30 days. Where the agreement is between a business owner and the Town, the building owner may be a party to the agreement (if required).
If the application is declined, the CAO/Town Clerk will notify all applicants in writing and include all original documents submitted.
What Is Required For Final Reimbursement?
Upon completion of the project, the applicant shall submit copies of all invoices (stamped paid) and/or receipts pertaining to the approved works to the CAO/Town Clerk. The Building Department will inspect the completed project to ensure compliance with the building permits. The CAO/Town Clerk may obtain assistance from any other Municipal Official involved in the application.
Upon completion of the construction and inspection by the CBO, the Applicant will be required to present all receipts pertaining to the project. After the receipts have been reviewed, the Town shall issue a cheque for the full grant amount. Note: if actual costs are less than provided for in the Letter of Agreement, the amount of the grant payments may be reduced; however, if the costs are higher, the grant payment shall not exceed that defined in the Letter of Agreement without the approval of Council.
Terms And Conditions
Written confirmation of the commitment will be given and will be valid for 6 months. The Town may, at its sole discretion grant a onetime 6 month extension. If the eligible improvements are not completed within one year, the commitment will expire.
The applicant shall be responsible to obtain all necessary municipal permits and approvals. Examples include awnings and projecting signs which may require an encroachment agreement with the Town, façade work may require a construction permit and business signage may require a building permit.
All work completed by the applicant shall be in accordance with the Letter of Agreement and the requirements of the building permits and applications.
In the event that there is a breach of the above conditions or it comes to the attention of the Town of Penetanguishene that any of the statements made by the Applicant in the application form or any other information provided to the Town are false, the Town shall have the right to revoke funding approval.
The Planning and Development Section may make minor exceptions to the program guidelines. Any major variances must be approved by Council.
The Town may at any time suspend or discontinue this program; however, any participants in the program prior to its closing will continue to receive loans or grants as approved for their property until the conclusion of their project.