The City of San Antonio’s Office of Historic Preservation wants public input throughout January on sights and designs around San Antonio that should be considered for viewshed protection.

People are encouraged to photograph unique views of San Antonio, share them on social media with #ThisViewMatters, and tag @sapreservation in the post. The department will collect, print, and present the images at a public input meeting Jan. 29 at the San Antonio chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

What iconic city views best capture San Antonio? What vistas would you miss most if you moved away? Where do you send folks for the best view of your favorite building or park? Share your favorite photos of San Antonio using #ThisViewMatters and tagging @sapreservation. … OHP is gathering public input regarding locations and designs of potential Viewshed Protection Districts. We’re holding a public meeting on Jan 29 at 6 PM AT AIA San Antonio. In preparation for the meeting, we ask our followers to share their favorite photos of San Antonio using #ThisViewMatters and tagging @sapreservation. We’ll use your images in a gallery at the public meeting. @saconservation gets us started with this shot of the Alamo and the Tower Life building. #Repost @saconservation (@get_repost) ??? #ThisViewMatters #heritageconservation #sanantonioconservationsociety @keepsareal

A post shared by San Antonio OHP (@sapreservation) on

The initiative comes after a contentious effort to develop a four-story apartment building adjacent to the Hays Street Bridge, which was ultimately rejected by the Historic and Design Review Commission.

City Council members Cruz Shaw (D2) and Ana Sandoval (D7) filed a council consideration request in November requesting “support to initiate the process to include additional San Antonio Historic Landmarks for Viewshed Protection, and to enable the establishment of Viewshed Protection Districts.” The request prompted the public input component and specifically names the Hays Street Bridge and Woodlawn Lake Park as landmarks worthy of consideration for protection.

“The views are sort of what helps give San Antonio its identity,” said Cory Edwards, senior management analyst at the Office of Historic Preservation.

The process could lead to new viewshed protection districts, which are zoning overlay districts with designations designed to protect and maintain landmark views. The Alamo is situated inside one such district.

“We completely understand that we have to balance whatever viewshed protections are put in place with the desire for economic development in our city,” said Shanon Miller, director of the Office of Historic Preservation. “It’s not a tool for freezing development … it’s just about shaping where the height goes so that we can protect these views.”

Graciela Sanchez, director of the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, was among those opposed to the development near the Hays Street Bridge. She said she appreciates Shaw’s and Sandoval’s efforts in filing the consideration request, but noted that some community members may not have access to smartphone applications and online social media sites. Those people coming to the Jan. 29 meeting should feel welcome to contribute to the conversation in their own way by bringing hardcopy pictures or sharing personal experiences, she said.

“I am happy that it’s happening, and I’m hoping that people pay attention to the issues,” Sanchez said.

The project is being led by a technical working viewshed advisory committee. Comments and input given during the Jan. 29 meeting will be made available here.

“[Landmark views are] one of those things that people don’t realize is important until they don’t have [them] anymore,” Edwards said. “We’re trying to really get people to think objectively about what’s around us and what’s important.”

Avatar photo

Jeffrey Sullivan

Jeffrey Sullivan is a Rivard Report reporter. He graduated from Trinity University with a degree in Political Science.