Town of Bel Air Façade Improvement Program
Intent & Scope
The goal of the Bel Air Façade Improvement Program is to improve the exterior appearance of buildings in the Town’s commercial areas in order to attract new businesses, maintain existing businesses and make Bel Air a desirable place for individuals and families to shop, conduct business and reside. The program awards matching funds based on a competitive process, for upgrades and improvements of building exteriors and signage. Funds may be used to pay for labor, materials and design, permitting fees for improvements such as, but not limited to, exterior painting, refacing, masonry pointing, window and door replacement, awnings, signage and restoration to original appearance or finishes. Structural repairs, interior work and non-visible roof repairs will not be eligible for funding. An approved list of architects, contractors and/or design professionals will not be specifically identified in order to foster an atmosphere of fairness and objectivity. However, members of the Bel Air design community have been actively involved in the development and administration of the Façade Improvement Program.
- Property owners within the Bel Air Façade Improvement Project Area.
- Building tenants within the Bel Air Façade Improvement Project Area with written approval of the building owner.
- The project must receive written approval from the Committee and from Maryland Historical Trust prior to commencement of proposed work.
Applications for matching funds must be submitted to the Bel Air Façade Improvement Program Committee.
- A completed Bel Air Façade Improvement Program Project Application and all required attachments (including, but not limited to, photographs of the current building façade, plans or sketches of proposed improvements, insurance and financing documentation).
- A description of the proposed improvements, along with two cost estimates from licensed contractors.
- A letter committing to making the proposed building improvements and contributing a minimum of 50% of the funding to the project.
- An agreement stating that all funded improvements will remain on the property and be maintained for five years, or the applicant will reimburse the Program for utilized funds on a pro-rated basis, except in the case of a written agreement between all of the parties.
- Any project specific information or documentation requested by the Committee.
The Committee will review, qualify and score all funding applications based on the following factors:
- Quality and completeness of the application
- Project conformance with applicable codes and design guidelines
- Degree of improvement offered by the project
- Overall impact of the project
- Financial feasibility and viability of the project
Project applications must achieve a minimum score to be considered for funding and must be approved by a majority of the Committee’s membership to receive funding.
Awarding of Funds
The Bel Air Façade Improvement Program Committee will award funds starting with the highest scoring project and continuing until available funds are exhausted.
The maximum amount that can be awarded to one project is limited to $10,000. (The minimum amount must be $1,000)
Applicants will be reimbursed for the cost of approved projects upon satisfactory project completion, as determined by a final inspection by the appropriate building official and designated representative of the Bel Air Façade Improvement Program Committee. Applicant must forward fund entire project cost. Façade improvement will be reimbursed after project completion and inspection. Maximum reimbursement will be 50%, up to a maximum of $10,000.
- To be considered for funding, a building must be structurally sound.
- Work on funded projects must begin within six months of receiving approval by the Bel Air Façade Improvement Program Committee. If it does not, the applicant must submit a written request for a three-month extension to the Committee at least 30 days prior to the expiration of the initial six-month period. If the Committee declines the request for extension, it may award the funds to another approved project.
- Work on funded projects must be completed within one year of construction initiation.
- Work on funded projects must be completed by licensed contractors and comply with all applicable codes.
- In order to be eligible for funding, the project must receive written approval from the Committee and from Maryland Historical Trust prior to commencement of proposed work.