New Smyrna Beach proposes building restrictions in historic neighborhoods

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. — Some neighbors in New Smyrna Beach claim a new set of proposed ordinances surrounding hundreds of historic homes crosses a line.

Yard signs against the proposals line the community reading: “Help! Save our property from local government overreach.”


Part of the plan includes a height restriction for homes and stopping construction that combines parcels.

Neighbors say if they wanted an HOA, they wouldn’t live there. But the city is concerned if new development isn’t regulated it could take away from the charm of two national historic districts.

Opponents say many homes in the city’s two nationally registered historic districts have remained the same for dozens of years and don’t need more regulation.

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“This house was built in 1924. No one was telling people what to do with their houses back then. I don’t think they should be doing it now,” Doug Thompson said.

The city said the three proposed amendments would impact hundreds of homes.

One would restrict building heights to three stories for single-family and duplexes, and limit multi-family buildings and commercial buildings to four stories.

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Another would stop developers from combining properties to make larger-scale buildings.

And the last would create a waiver process for proposed development to be considered by the historic preservation board.

Some neighbors believe those are all issues that could be settled through local zoning laws.

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“They can easily pass those laws. No one is going to object because we like our neighborhood the way it is,” Thompson said.

A city spokesperson said plans are in the works to host multiple public meetings to gather input on the issue and added that no action will be taken until those are finished.

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.