Zac Harris became the newest member of the Historic and Design Review Commission after City Council appointed him on Thursday to represent District 2.

Harris, a project developer for a commercial rooftop solar company, served on the Planning and Zoning commissions between 2012 and 2015. He wants to bring his “experience and passion” for public service to HDRC, he said.

“My goal is to keep our community moving forward but within the needs and desires for each of our critically important historic neighborhoods and districts,” he said via text.

His appointment leaves two spots, District 4 and a mayoral representative, open on HDRC, which is charged with reviewing development and exterior changes to structures in sensitive areas of town, downtown, historic districts, and near the San Antonio River.

The previous District 2 commissioner resigned from the position after less than six months due to time constraints, and the longtime chair of the commission and mayoral appointee, Michael Guarino, suddenly resigned in March. Harris will serve the remainder of the current term on the board until May 31, 2019. The new Council member for District 2 elected in May can choose to keep or replace him.

“The HDRC provides the opportunity for the residents and the development community to have an open dialogue to work towards the best project for the given area in question,” Harris said. “Living in a historic district myself, Dignowity Hill, I know how important it is to hold all sides accountable when it comes to the guidelines the HDRC is tasked to use when looking at each individual project.”

Harris started working for San Antonio-based One80 Solar in December 2017 and previously worked for Alamo Beer Company as director of sales and marketing.

HDRC’s decisions – from window depths and materials on historic cottages to the design of multi-floor, multi-family complexes – are not technically final. The commission makes recommendations to the City’s administration, which typically follows HDRC’s advice.

HDRC twice rejected designs for a controversial apartment building next to the historic Hays Street Bridge and Alamo Beer Company, but then-City Manager Sheryl Sculley granted the project approval. The local beer company’s owner purchase the land from the City but has since deeded it over to a developer. That sale is the subject of a lawsuit brought against the City by bridge restoration advocates.

Other recent controversial decisions include the approval of the Alamo Master Plan and recommending historic designation for a dilapidated building at Beacon Hill Elementary School.

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Residents who are interested should contact their Council member or the mayor‘s offices. For more information about HDRC, click here.

Iris Dimmick

Iris Dimmick

Senior reporter Iris Dimmick covers City Hall, politics, development, and more. Contact her at iris@rivardreport.com