Most of the buildings in the King William Association are located within the boundaries of a Historic District, or are designated as a local landmark. Both of these are “zoning overlays” regulated by the City of San Antonio’s Zoning Ordinance administered by the City’s Office of Historic Preservation (OHP). As a local landmark or by location within a historic district, City ordinance requires you to have your project reviewed by the OHP.

It is all about a process. The best way to start is to contact the OHP and explain your project. From there the OHP staff can guide you through the steps you need to take. Some projects that fall under “repair and maintenance,” like replacing rotted wood, can be approved administratively. The OHP staff will give you a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA). You or your contractor will need to submit the COA and an application to get a permit from the building department.

More extensive projects usually require review by the Historic and Design Review Commission (HDRC). The HDRC application requires photos, drawings of elevations, site plan, or other information depending upon the extent of the proposed work. Some of these items your contractor will already have. HDRC meets twice a month, the first and third Wednesday, at 3:00 p.m. at the One Stop Center located at 1901 S. Alamo Street, but applications must be turned in about three weeks before the meeting date. Make sure to plan your project start date accordingly.

In addition to HDRC, the King William Association has an Architectural Advisory Committee (AAC). The AAC has no legal jurisdiction; however the AAC and KWA staff work with property owners to identify any possible issues not consistent with the Secretary of Interior Standards for rehabilitation and restoration and offer solutions to be in compliance with standard historic preservation practices.

Following these steps will help your project go smoothly:

  1. Identify your project.
  2. Call the KWA office 227-8786.
  3. Talk to the OHP 215-9274.
  4. Complete the OHP application and submit it.
  5. Attend HDRC meeting.
  6. Get a COA.
  7. Take COA to the Building Department to get your building permit.

Finally, a word of caution! Work done without a COA is subject to a $500 application fee, and a Stop-Work Order may be issued.

- Cherise Bell