Your portal to historic preservation in San Antonio.
June 2016
Message from Shanon Shea Miller
AICP, Director
Thank you for helping us celebrate our most successful Preservation Month yet! The calendar of events lightens up a bit in June but there is still a lot happening.

First, I am pleased to welcome San Antonio's newest resident Vincent Michael. Vince was recently selected as the new Executive Director of the San Antonio Conservation Society. He brings with him some impressive experience and expertise in heritage management. We look forward to working closely with Vince in his new role at the Conservation Society.

This month, the City will begin hosting several World Heritage Open Houses to gain public feedback related to changes for several Neighborhood Plans in the World Heritage Buffer Zone. If you live near the missions, this is a great opportunity to get involved. See below for details.

Speaking of the Missions, don't forget to cast your daily vote for the San Antonio Missions to win a nation wide contest to receive a grant worth $236,000. Polling is open right now and will continue through July 5. Vote today....and every day!

I also want to take time to congratulate our new OHP Enforcement Officer, Branden Dross, for graduating from UTSA with a Bachelors of Art in Public Administration & a Minor in Political Science. He plans on attending UTSA’s MPA program this fall, with a concentration on Civic Engagement & Policy Planning. Branden is passionate about being a positive voice in our community while serving the City of San Antonio. Congratulations, Branden, on this great accomplishment! 

Finally, OHP will be spending the summer preparing for our 8th Annual Historic Homeowner Fair taking place on August 27. More information on the upcoming Fair is included at the end of the newsletter.

I hope that everyone enjoys a safe and relaxing summer season!


News and Announcements
Welcome, Vincent Michael
Vincent L. Michael, PhD is a prominent activist and thought leader in the heritage conservation field.  He is a Trustee Emeritus of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, where he was Vice Chair of the Preservation and Sites Committee and the Diversity Task Force.  He has also held various senior positions including Chair of the National Council for Preservation Education and John Bryan Chair of Historic Preservation at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He begins his role as Executive Director of the San Antonio Conservation Society on June 13.

Visit to learn more about Vince and the important work of the Conservation Society.
World Heritage Open Houses
A critical component of the World Heritage work plan is to update relevant neighborhood plans to reflect the desired and appropriate development goals for the areas surrounding our historic missions. In February, the City hosted a symposium to identify the existing assets in the community, gather ideas, and create a dialogue regarding land use and sensitive development as well as discuss how to balance the reverence of the missions with the various opportunities that exist with the World Heritage Designation.  

Beginning June 27 and continuing through July, the City will host several opportunities for the community to review the proposed land use amendments based upon feedback received to date for the following neighborhood plans:  Lone Star Neighborhood Plan, South Central Community Plan, Stinson Airport Vicinity Land Use Plan, and Heritage South Sector Plan.

Open House locations and dates can be viewed here. In the meantime, general inquiries can be sent to

Draft Comprehensive Plan Available
The SA Tomorrow Draft Comprehensive Plan is now available. Historic Preservation and Cultural Heritage is an important element in the plan, and our historic neighborhoods will play an important role in the future planning of our City. Check out the draft here. You can also contact the Department of Planning and Community Development by email with any questions or comments regarding the draft plan.
The Missions National Historical Park is included in a national contest being held by Partners in Preservation along with sponsors American Express and National Geographic. A total of $2 million in grants will be awarded to the top vote-getting parks included in the contest. You will be able to Vote for the Missions every day through July 5. If we are in the top 7-8 parks, the local National Park Service will receive about $236,000 to do restoration work on the beautiful frescoes at Mission Concepcion.

Just go to Sign up to vote today, and cast your vote for the Missions. Or, go to to find the Vote for the Missions button. Let's make this happen!

NPS is turning 10 0!
The centennial will kick off a second century of stewardship of America's national parks and engaging communities through recreation, conservation, and historic preservation programs.  Find your park !

APT Annual Conference
The Association for Preservation Technology International's Annual Conference will be held right here in San Antonio, October 30 - November 3. Learn how new technologies and techniques are advancing the field of Preservation.

Click Here to Register!

Commemorating 50 Years of  The National Historic Preservation Act 

The National Historic Preservation Act is turning 50!  Visit the  website  to read more about the legislation that transformed the nation’s communities.  

Preservation Month was a Huge Success!
In celebration of Preservation Month in May, OHP hosted or partnered in over 10 events across the city reaching over 1,000 participants. Thank you to all of the sponsors, partners, and volunteers that helped make Preservation Month possible. Read our Blog for stories and photos from May's events.

Programs and Initiatives

Gas Stations Initiative
Just last month we celebrated a new designation initiative for historic gas stations in San Antonio – check out our photo gallery to see if you recognize any of them. Once you’ve trained your eye to spot historic gas stations, it’s easy to see how important they were to the development San Antonio. They represent a dominant industry in our regional economy, a nationwide shift in transportation patterns to reliance on a personal automobile, and a growing emphasis on corporate branding. 
Rehabber Club
Join the Rehabber Club at our next meetup on Thursday, June 23, at 1901 S Alamo starting at 5:30 pm. Topics will be landscaping in historic districts and the HDRC process. Rehabber Club members will receive credits for attending. Not a member? Be sure to visit the website and sign up today!

Also, huge shoutout to Kimberlee Lorenz of ReVamp Design Build for leading our first Rehabber Club work day! Read about the work day on our blog.
Vacant Buildings Registration Program
The first 18 months of the Vacant Buildings Pilot Registration Program have flown by and the City is now working towards the implementation of a permanent, expanded program based on feedback from City Council and the Vacant Buildings Advisory Committee. Possible changes to the program will considered by City Council on June 16. Read more about the early successes and proposed changes here
Cultural Mapping
We’re just at the beginning of a project to map the culture of our World Heritage communities, but we’ve already identified some of the attributes of i ntangible h eritage of the area. As stewards of a World Heritage site, we are charged with protecting not just the built environment but also intangible heritage of the culture. In order to do that we first need to establish what that intangible heritage actually is. We know it revolves around food, music, traditions, spirituality, language , etc. , but we need to learn more about the specifics . One of the best results to date , is simply that people are coming forward with their stories. Their willingness to be active participants makes this an inclusive and community-based engagement process. We’ve produced a short video that captures the spirit of the story telling but plan to have a more detailed exhibit or collection of video s as the project continues.  Once we have gathered more information, we will work with the community to identify ways to preserve the i ntangible h eritage along with the more tangible built environment.  T his usually takes the form of awareness raising through exhibits, performances, and other educational forums. View the video here.

From OHP Staff
Branden Dross, Historic Building Enforcement Officer
Hey, all. I just want to extend my thanks to the neighborhood associations who have invited me to their monthly meetings. They have all been very educational and positive meetings during my first two months here at OHP. The neighborhood association members and the residents seem very passionate about protecting the character of their neighborhood. This summer, my main focus will be on educating property owners and contractors of the various sections of the Unified Development Code. I will be driving around and visiting your neighborhood soon to make sure contractors are complying with City regulations. If you would like to report a possible violation, please call me at 210-219-2093 or email
Congratulations on your graduation, Branden!
Katie's Corner
Did you know that the Office of Historic Preservation reviews all demolition requests city wide? Although a building may not be zoned historic, in some cases our staff may conduct additional research if we feel the building may hold historic or cultural significance. While staff has 30 days to complete these reviews, the large majority of non-historic demolition requests are approved on the spot at the OHP counter.

To move through the review process quickly, be sure to include color photographs of each side of the structure and make sure that the property owner has signed the bottom of the form. For more information and to find demolition forms, please visit our website at  

Katie Totman, Historic Preservation Specialist, oversees application intake and completeness review. She'll be providing regular tips for ensuring a complete application and timely review.

Did you know?
You can access past HDRC agendas and exhibits from your computer!  The City uses a common online tool to post all agendas and information related to its boards and commissions including the Historic and Design Review Commission. Past meeting details, including exhibits, are archived and can be accessed at any time using the search function. Make sure "Historic and Design Review Commission" is specified in the search bar to access past HDRC Agendas.
Coming Soon!
The 8th Annual Historic Homeowner Fair (HHF) is a free, annual event hosted by OHP. The HHF brings together owners of aging and historic homes with local professionals, services, products, and solutions. The HHF is also designed to educate homeowners about caring for and maintaining their properties. NEW in 2016, attend the sessions that matter most to you by following 1 of 4 customized tracks! Visit our website for more information, or join the event on facebook.

Stay tuned for information on how to become a Fair exhibitor or sponsor!
World Heritage Festival
Save the Date! The first annual World Heritage Festival will take place September 9 and 10. The celebration will include music, tours, activities for kids, and a "Restored by Light" night at Mission San Jose! Stay tuned for a full schedule and event details as they become available.  
SApreservation 5k Series
The SApreservation 5k series is a great way to stay fit and learn something new about our historic city. UPDATE: As part of the World Heritage Festival, the September Monte Vista event has been changed to a Missions 5k! Details forthcoming. Don't worry - the Monte Vista tour will still take place in the near feature!
5k Website
The Power of Preservation PROM is returning on October 27, 2016. Don't miss this party of the year - reserve your individual tickets or become a table sponsor today! Contact for more information.
Happy Summer!