Office of Historic Preservation
Historic Districts

A historic district, according to the City of San Antonio’s Unified Development Code, is "an area, urban or rural, defined as an historic district by city council, state, or federal authority and which may contain within definable geographic boundaries one or more buildings, objects, sites or structures designated as exceptional or significant historic landmarks or clusters, as defined herein, including their accessory buildings, fences and other appurtenances, and natural resources having historical, architectural, archaeological, and cultural significance, and which may have within its boundaries other buildings, objects, sites, or structures, that, while not of such historical, architectural, archaeological or cultural significance as to be designated landmarks, nevertheless contribute to the overall visual setting of or characteristics of the landmark or landmarks located within the district." 

San Antonio currently has 28 different locally designated historic districts, ranging in size from the Leon Springs Historic District (3 parcels) to the Mission Historic District, which extends for approximately seven (7) miles on the city’s south side. Not to be confused with National Register Historic Districts, of which San Antonio has 19, local historic districts are adopted by ordinance at City Council and include legal enforcement of compliance with adopted development codes that are specific to historic properties. Find out more about the advantages of historic designation (PDF).

Historic district eligibility is determined by the sixteen (16) criteria for evaluation as specified in the Unified Development Code. These criteria are based on the four National Register criteria for eligibility including association with significant events, association with significant people, architectural significance, or ability to convey information about history or prehistory (archaeological sites). Areas recommended eligible for historic district designation must meet at least three (3) of the criteria. See the link below for a full list of eligibility criteria for historic districts.

Local Historic District Creation Process

The current process for the creation of local historic districts (UDC Chapter 35, Article VI Historic Preservation and Urban Design, Division 2 Historic Preservation, Section 35-605) was last updated by City Council on October 29, 2015. The latetst amendment requires verified support from 51% of property owners within the proposed district in order to begin the public hearing process. For more detailed information on the historic district creation process, please see the links below.

 

Pending Districts

Districts that are "Pending" means that there is an active application for the creation of a new historic district. The application for a pending district has been verified by staff, and an informational meeting for property owners has been held. This does not always mean that the application has received the necessary support in order to move forward with the public hearing process. After one calendar year, the application will expire if sufficient support (51%) is not reached.

OHP will provide regular updates for residents in pending historic districts on this page. Updates include general information about the proposed boundaries, the current percentage of verified support, and copies of all presentations and correspondence to property owners. Current pending districts with an active application are:

In 2014, OHP held a Conversations in Preservation public informational meeting series which specifically addressed questions from residents in a pending historic district. The results of the Q&A session can be viewed here

Property owners considering historic district designation are encouraged to contact staff at info@sapreservation.com or 210-207-0035 for more information.

Eligible Historic Districts

Through the ScoutSA initiative, neighborhoods, individual blocks, and building groupings are often identified as eligible for designation as a local historic district. Eligibility alone does not initiate the historic district designation process which requires a formal application.

OHP staff is available to meet with neighborhoods, including those with a NCD zoning overlay, and other property owners who are interested in historic designation. General information regarding eligible districts is maintained on this page. Eligible districts include, but are not limited to: