Chapter 50 Historic Preservation Update
What does this project do?
- Clarifies the difference between Local Historic District and National Registered Historic Districts.
- Clarifies procedures for any proposed demolition of a contributing structure including the required criteria.
- Places all the definitions in a central location to make them easy to find.
- Increases the fines for demolishing a contributing structure without a permit.
- Updates the name of the Historic Preservation Commission to Historic Preservation Board.
- Updates Property Tax Exemption to meet State Statues and expand incentives.
What doesn't this project do?
- Propose any new design or construction regulations on properties located within either of New Smyrna Beach's National Registered Historic Districts.
Background and Project Timeline
The original Chapter 50 was approved in 1986 with some minor changes in 2001, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2012, and 2013. Some of the previous changes included a Property Tax Exemption (2001), Historic Building Demolition (2005,2006), and Historic Preservation Grant Program (2012), Archaeological Preservation (2006,2013). Therefore, the process of evaluating and updating Chapter is not a new concept.
- 1986 – The City adopted Chapter 50 which among many other things established a Historic Preservation Commission and general guidelines for historic preservation.
- 1986 – The City achieved Certified Local Government status with the National Park Service.
- 1990 – The City applied for the New Smyrna Beach Historic District with the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places and was approved.
- 1997 – The City applied for the Coronado Historic District with the National Park Service’s Nation Register of Historic Places and was approved.
- 2007 – The City applied for the Turnbull Canal System with the National Park Service’s Nation Register of Historic Places and was approved.
- 2020 – The City adopted an update to the Historic Preservation Element of its Comprehensive Plan.
- 2020 – The City Commission updated the City Charter which further established the direction of the City’s historic preservation efforts.
From 2014 through 2020, the Planning Department Staff, with direction from the Planning Manager, enforced Certificate of Appropriateness regulations on contributing structures in both National Registered Historic Districts. Chapter 50 did not clearly separate which type of district, local or national, that would have to comply with the Certificate of Appropriateness requirement for external renovations that could be seen from the public road. From 2014 till 2020, the Planning Department processed 117 Certificate of Appropriateness applications.
In 2020, during a Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) meeting, under public participation, a citizen asked if the City should be processing Certificate of Appropriateness applications on properties located within either of the National Registered Historic Districts. That citizen questioned the process and spoke about the possibility that these regulations should only be imposed on properties in a local designated historic district or local landmark. The Planning Department forwarded the concerns to the City Attorneys office and the interpretation from that office was to stop enforcing the Certificate of Appropriateness regulations on the National Registered Districts and only enforce on local landmarks or local historic districts.
The HPC asked staff to review Chapter 50 again since it had not been updated since 2013, and better clarify what regulations would apply to a local landmark, local historic district, and a national registered historic district.
Staff then obtained the services of S&ME in 2021 to review and propose changes to Chapter 50. They did a kick-off presentation to the HPC in July of 2021 and then the City Commission in September 2021 to go over the scope of work and to receive any input from the appointed and elected officials. During the S&ME review, they discovered that some sections of Chapter 50 did not comply with the lasted Florida Statues as it pertained to Property Tax Exemptions and that some of chapter 50 was hard to decipher the different regulations for national and local historic districts, and that definitions were scatted through the regulation.
- 4.29.21 S&ME, Inc. project acceptance letter with scope of work.
- 7.14.21 Historic Preservation Meeting at the 16.40 Minute Mark.
- 7.14.21 S&ME Inc., Kickoff Presentation
- 9.14.21 City Commission Meeting at the 24.12 Minute Mark.
- 9.14.21 S&ME Inc., Presentation
- S&ME First Draft of Revised Chapter 50 with Staff Comments.
- Current Draft of Chapter 50 - Staff received the first draft from S&ME and significantly modified it to be more lenient such as allowing the use of modern materials.
- 6.20.23 Historic Preservation Meeting
December 5, 2023 the City is hosting a public meeting in Commission Chambers to review Chapter 50's proposed amendments and take public input.