One of the pleasures of being president is working with so many dedicated volunteers. Certainly one of the hardest working KWA committees is the Architectural Advisory Committee (AAC) chaired by Mickey Conrad. This committee’s task is to review and comment on every case that comes to the City’s Historic Design Review Committee (HDRC) from King William. The AAC also reviews some cases that are adjacent to King William that may impact our neighborhood in some way. The hard task of the AAC is to insure that the proper guidelines for exterior modification of our historic homes are followed. This often involves the applicants meeting with the AAC before appearing at the HDRC so that issues and concerns can be discussed. Often the applicant is unaware of the guidelines they need to follow, or what kinds of modifications are not acceptable. All of this is to help preserve the historic integrity of our neighborhood.
One issue that the AAC has been dealing with recently is the installation of solar panels. Solar panels absorb energy from the sun and convert that energy to electricity, thus saving the homeowner some costs of paying for the energy from the electricity grid of CPS. The panels are most effective on roofs that are either flat or face west or south. But solar panels can be distracting to the appearance of historic homes with peaked roofs that make it difficult to hide the panels from street view. The AAC and the KWA are not against solar panel installation. However, we do encourage that any installation be done in a manner that will not be visible from the street or otherwise detract from the character of the historic structure.
Another issue that the KWA is concerned about is the lack of toilet facilities available for First Friday revelers. No one owns First Friday – not the KWA or the City of San Antonio. Ordinarily the owner of an event (like our King William Fair) provides the toilets. One of our committee members discovered a rather obscure law that requires toilet facilities in any public gathering of 50 people or more. We have shared a copy of that law with John Jacks and others of the City Manager’s staff. Cherise Bell, Jessie Simpson and I met with Jacks and Stephen Barscewski of the Public Health Department to see what might be done about this public health issue. Our streets are public places, so in our view anyone who has more than one booth on their property should provide a toilet for the revelers. The city staff is reviewing the document and we will be meeting with them again this month.
Congratulations are certainly in order to SAY Sí, one of our grant recipients, for its recent recognition from the Adobe Creative Catalyst Program, the COSA Department of Culture and Creative Development Sisters’ City Initiative and the John Santikos Charitable Foundation (see story, p. 9). The Sisters’ City Initiative is a nationally recognized program and the Adobe initiative is an internationally recognized program. We can proudly say that SAY Sí is receiving the recognition that it certainly deserves.