Your Questions Answered: Can new buildings be taller than the Tower of Americas?

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SAN ANTONIO – We have received several questions about the high-rises in downtown San Antonio.

Some of those questions asked about rules limiting the height of high-rises. Others wondered if there are rules preventing high-rises to tower over the Alamo.

We reached out to the city's Development Services Department to find out what the rules are for high-rises in downtown.

Department spokeswoman Ximena Copa-Wiggins says rules for downtown high-rises are different depending on the zoning. But she did say that there is not a current ordinance that limits the height of a high-rise compared to the Tower of the Americas.

When it comes to the Alamo, there is a provision in the city development code that protects it. It's Sec. 35-337.

The "Viewshed Protection and Mission Protection" section was created "to establish regulations to protect, preserve and enhance views and vistas by authorizing and establishing viewshed protection districts."  

To be designated a viewshed protection district, the landmark "must lie within the viewshed of the major entrance or front door" of specific landmarks. The Alamo is one of those landmarks. The rule spells out the boundary of the area and goes into great detail as to how tall buildings around it can be.

It should be noted that these viewsheds are not just limited to the Alamo. All of the missions and several other historical buildings have their own viewsheds.

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