Viewsheds

The purpose of a Viewshed Protection district is to establish regulations to protect, preserve, and enhance views and vistas. The City of San Antonio has many views and vistas of historic places, landmark buildings, and other sites of cultural importance which have always been important to the city. These views will continue to be amenities and assets of great value to the city, its people, and its economy. New development in the vicinity of these important places is usually beneficial, but when construction becomes too tall and begins to overwhelm or intrude, in scale and mass, the main view or vista of a smaller place of significance, then the viewshed located behind the significant property should be protected. Viewshed Protection districts are overlay districts that will be used primarily for unique situations regarding views and vistas that are not adequately covered by the standard zoning districts. No part of a new structure, sign, tower, roof top equipment, or other appurtenance shall be permitted to encroach into any designated viewshed as set forth in this ordinance unless an encroachment was approved legally before the effective date of the Viewshed Protection ordinance. If the maximum height allowed in any zoning district within the city differs from the height permitted by a protection district, the more restrictive height limitation shall apply.

San Antonio currently has one (1) Viewshed Protection district: Alamo Viewshed (VP-1). This Viewshed Protection district lies behind the main entrance to the front door of the Mission San Antonio de Valero (The Alamo), a local Exceptional Landmark and a National Historic Landmark. A brass disc monument named VP-1, Alamo Viewshed, has been set to mark the viewpoint origination in Alamo Plaza in front of the Alamo Chapel.

The area above a plane described by the following boundary is designated as the Alamo Viewshed Protection District (VP-1): beginning at a point at elevation 663.22 feet above disk VP-1, Alamo Viewshed, and extending through a point of the plane of the façade that is level with and six inches northwest from the topmost northern corner of the Alamo façade at a vertical angle of 9°34’38" and at a distance of 109.23 feet to the east right of way line of Interstate Highway 37 for the northern boundary of the viewshed (see Ch. 35-337 of the Unified Development Code for full boundary description). The images below display the geometry of VP-1.

viewshed_photoViewshed_2Viewshed_3