General Ideas and Feedback

Update Historic Preservation Guidelines to Support Solar

Current San Antonio Office of Historic Preservation (OHP) Design Guidelines and recommendations - including for 'additions' and 'exterior maintenance and alterations' - appear to place an unreasonable burden on the installation of (reversible, non-damaging and, in some cases, building and way-of-life preserving) solar panels to rooftops in the city's historic districts.

 

Current San Antonio guidelines appear to encourage 'green roofs' primarily on historic commercial buildings as well as to require the location of 'solar collectors on [the] side or rear roof pitch of the primary historic structure' in most cases.

 

The existing guidelines and recommendations appear to be particularly burdensome for property owners in historic districts with south facing buildings and pitched roof structures - or roughly half of all property owners in the City's many and growing historic districts.

 

Existing San Antonio guidelines and recommendations also appear to run contrary to the latest National Trust for Historic Preservation suggestions and interpretations of The Secretary of Interior’s Standards (responding to a changing world), as well as existing new guidelines in other historic US cities and National Alliance of Preservation Commission (NAPC) sample guidelines for solar systems in historic districts - which, while encouraging the visual impact of solar arrays to be minimized, depict front facade (or visible from the street) solar panels, without any 'adverse effect' or 'while also preserving historic integrity and causing no harm'.

 

As sunny and global city San Antonio 'takes its own tack' and works to increase renewable energy production targets citywide and expand community and neighborhood solar options with new pilot projects - but with project installers already warning that existing historic preservation standards could impede solar energy growth in San Antonio - the City should revise unreasonably burdensome OHP guidelines and recommendation related to the installation of solar panels or collectors in the City's historic districts. To support solar panel installation on more south-facing structures and roof lines, where solar energy production capacity throughout the year is greatest, and as visible (reversible and non-damaging) solar panels can have no negative impact towards - and, rather, can help to support - historic preservation.

 

Resources:

 

http://www.forbes.com/sites/tomkonrad/2013/11/22/your-solar-panels-arent-facing-the-wrong-way/

 

http://www.expressnews.com/business/eagle-ford-energy/article/CPS-Energy-introducing-two-solar-pilot-programs-6365365.php

 

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/columnist/2015/02/15/loveless-solar-power-san-antonio/23384349/

https://www.cpsenergy.com/en/about-us/programs-services/energy-generation/wind/windtricity.html

 

http://www.preservationnation.org/information-center/sustainable-communities/buildings/solar-panels/

 

https://www.sanantonio.gov/historic/Docs/DesignGuidelines/3_Additions.pdf

 

https://www.sanantonio.gov/historic/Docs/DesignGuidelines/2_ExteriorMaintenanceandAlterations.pdf

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Idea No. 48