Office of Historic Preservation
Phone: (210) 215-9274
1. Will local historic designation affect the use of my property?
No, the use of your property is regulated by the City’s zoning ordinance. Whatever uses are permitted by the zoning for the property are not affected by district or landmark designation. Designation is concerned with aesthetics, not the uses of the property.
2. Does historic designation require me to "retrofit" my property to have a more "historic" character?
No, historic designation will not require retrofitting. If a property owner elects to make an addition or a major exterior improvement to his/her property after designation the addition will need architectural review and approval by the Historic and Design Review Commission (HDRC). Many minor exterior changes can be administratively approved by the Office of Historic Preservation (OHP) and do not require review by the HDRC.
3. Does designation affect changes to the interior of the property?
No, the HDRC and OHP only review exterior modifications. This includes alterations to the property such as landscaping, driveways, retaining walls, fencing and walkways. The entire property is designated, not just the buildings. However, many minor changes can be approved administratively by the OHP.
4. Will I always need to hire an architect?
No, just as before designation, minor changes to a property probably would not need the services of an architect. However, just as in undesignated areas, a property owner would probably elect to hire an architect or other design or engineering professionals to assist in plans for a major change to his/her property. Employment of an architect is at the discretion of the property owner.
5. Will my taxes increase?
No, historic designation alone does not increase taxes. Property taxes are based upon the assessed valuation (property value) of the land plus the improvements on the land. Historic designation may add to the desirability of a neighborhood, resulting in increased real estate market activity, which could be reflected in higher assessed valuations by the Bexar County Appraisal District. The Office of Historic Preservation offers tax incentives for properties within historic districts and designated properties that undergo a substantial rehabilitation. Check out the Incentives page of this website for more information.