UPDATE with Response from Mr. Bonaparte, Mayor Triplett, and Commissioner Woodruff (below):

Letter to the Sanford City Manager regarding the removal of Sanford's Historic Preservation Officer

September 13, 2018 -- Earlier today I sent the following letter to City Manager Norton Bonaparte, and copied the Mayor and City Commissioners. I hope you'll consider attending the HPB meeting to make your voice heard:

Dear Mr. Bonaparte,

Sanford is a historic city, and that is a large part of its charm. For over 30 years the Sanford Historic Trust has been supportive of historic preservation in Sanford and has partnered with the City of Sanford in protecting historic structures, promoting our nature as a historic city, and supporting the work of historic preservation, both in and out of the historic district. In the past dozen years or so, we have had great support from the city of Sanford with a designated Historic Preservation Officer, and that support has been a tremendous asset to us, to our homes, and to our property values.

I understand that as of Monday, you have unilaterally dismissed the city’s historic preservation officer, seemingly without input from the City Commission, the City’s Historic Preservation board, or the citizens of Sanford. I am told that you’ve stated that Sanford is taking a “new direction” in this regard. It appears our city commissioners are unaware of this new direction as well. My question for you is simple: What is that new direction, how will it impact us, and why?

As citizens and supporters of Sanford’s Historic Districts—both residential and commercial—we the citizens of Sanford and members and friends of the Sanford Historic Trust would like to have an answer to that question. We have a lot of time, money, sweat, and tears invested in the historic nature of Sanford, and that historic nature is part of what gives Sanford it’s unique character—unlike any other city in Central Florida. As citizens, we want to know exactly what the “vision” is for Sanford’s historic future. We also want to understand the part our City Commission plays in it—they are our elected leaders and we elect them to set the direction of the city.

Will you be in attendance at the Historic Preservation Board meeting on Wednesday, September  19th at 4 PM in the city commission chambers? I plan on attending and will ask our members to attend—many of them have contacted me, asking what is going on and I am as in the dark as, apparently, many of our elected commissioners are, too.

It is unfortunate that the public perception of this action seems to be one done surreptitiously—done in the dark, seemingly without explanation, and apparently without Commission guidance or prior consultation. We citizens feel that we have lost a great asset and we see no evidence of a plan to replace this loss.  Please help allay our fears and thoroughly explain your decision and vision going forward.

Thanks for your time and I hope you will be able to answer our questions and provide a clear outline of what this “new direction” in the preservation of Sanford’s historic nature means. The members and friends of the Sanford Historic Trust are very engaged citizens, and we deserve to have clear answers to these questions from you and from our city elected leaders who we depend on to provide guidance to the city.

Leon G. Konieczny
President, Sanford Historic Trust
Response from Sanford City Manager Mr. Norton Bonaparte, Jr:

The City of Sanford is committed and will continue to support Historic Preservation, which is part of the city's Land Development Regulations. The Historic Preservation Officer position has not been eliminated. The City has every intention on filling the position in the very near future and is currently working on this.  In the interim, the city will continue to provide quality service to our residents and business owners in the city's historic  district.  City staff recognizes the importance of historic preservation and the adherence to the S-codes in the past and future revitalization of Sanford.  ​​​

Response from City of Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett:

Please know that as mayor of Sanford, I stand for and am committed to the historic preservation of our downtown corridor and contributing structures within the residential district.  This has not changed over my tenure, either as mayor or as a former Community Redevelopment Agency board member/chairman, nor will it.  I always tout the benefits of what we have vs what other cities have tried to create with new sticks and mortar every time I talk about Sanford.  And, as you have heard from me in the past, “So goes Downtown, so goes the city”. 

Although I cannot speak for the commissioners, I can tell you that the commitment and dedication you have seen in the past, will continue into the future.

I will not however…nor will management/staff…discuss internal personnel issues.  It is not fair, right or lawful to the individual(s) involved. 

I look forward to our continued work with the Historic Preservation Board, the Historic Sanford Trust, staff members and liaisons, commissioners and our citizens of the historic district and beyond.

Response from City of Sanford District 1 Commissioner Art Woodruff:

Here are my expectations for our city’s historic preservation efforts, and having talked to the City Manager and Planning Services Director, I am comfortable that this is the City staff’s expectation also. 

The “new direction” has to do with the reorganization of the planning, building, and code enforcement staffs as part of the City’s efforts to be an “Open for Business” city. It does not signal a change in standards or policies regarding historic preservation. 

Our “Open for Business” initiatives are an effort to make the development, redevelopment, and restoration processes easier for our citizens while maintaining and improving our City’s standards, including those for historic preservation. 

Historic preservation duties will remain the primary tasks of a single employee. The position will not be eliminated. Whether a current employee or a future employee has not been decided but I have shared my expectation that we have a qualified person. There will be some reassignment and/or sharing of duties to fit the open for business model. 

The City staff recognizes the importance of historic preservation and the adherence to the S-codes in the past and future revitalization of Sanford.  

The City Manager has the authority to manage staff, without interference from the Commission. I have spoken with him several times since Monday to make sure he understands my expectations. I appreciate all that the Historic Preservation Officer has done for the city, and wish her well. I do not expect her leaving to have a detrimental effect on the city. 

General Membership Meeting and Guest Speaker

Thursday, September 20, 7 PM at the Welcome Center

All members and guests are invited to attend. Order of business:

  • Brief Membership update on "over the summer" Trust activities including Tour of Homes preparation, Harvest Dinner progress, and Images of Sanford Calendar Reveal--and more.
  • Membership election to replace a board member who resigned, and will fill out the remainder of a 2-year term that began last January
  • Appointment of an Elections Committee for our upcoming General Elections (November Meeting)
  • Guest speaker and presentation: Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center:
    • History of the WDPAC (a recipient of the Trust's Historic Preservation Award)
    • Brief review of recent upgrades and current projects including sound renovation and complete interior art-deco painting
    • Overview of upcoming shows, plays, tributes, and other theater events
    • How the WDPAC bring arts and culture to Sanford's historic nature
  • Refreshments will be served.

Save the Date: Saturday October 13th

Images of Sanford Calendar Reveal with reception, 6-8 PM, Gallery on First

Congratulations to our winning photographers: Wayne Bennett , Andrea Cochran, Reg Garner, Jessica Keller, Leon Konieczny, Gene Kruckemyer, Angelo Migliore, Natalia Morris, Anna Jo Noviello, Jim Peters, John Pierce, David Rickly, Nancy Sepulveda, and Jennifer Wiggins

Advance copies of the 2019 Images of Sanford Calendar will be available. Come and meet the winning artists. Refreshments will be served.

Harvest Dinner 2018

Save the Date: Sunday November 4th

Planning is underway for our 3rd Annual Harvest Dinner, Sunday, November 4th. Save the date and come back here for more information as we get closer to this event. Last year was a great time, and we expect this year's event to be even more fun, bigger, and better--but we need you to participate!  Coming soon....

Save the Date: Saturday December 1st

Sanford Historic Trust T-shirts

Want a Sanford Historic Trust T-shirt? We took orders and the t-shirts are now in. We'll bring them to the next general membership meeting and the Community picnic so you can pick up the t-shirt(s) you pre-ordered.
2016 Photo Project is now Complete and Online

Trust member Mike Smith has completed a project to photograph all the homes in the historic district in 2016, for archival purposes. You can find these photos from the "Archive Photos" button above and to the right. The Trust last did this in 2002. See how things have changed? 

These photos, preserved in digital format, have been turned over to the Sanford Museum where they will be archived for future generations to come.

Upcoming events

Become a member

Your membership will help the Sanford Historic Trust achieve its mission for years to come. Please accept our heartfelt thanks for your generosity and commitment to the Sanford Historic Trust. Please tell your friends and neighbors about the Trust and encourage them to join today! Your membership may be tax deductible.

Join us

© 2018 Sanford Historic Trust. All rights reserved.

NOTE: Wild Apricot is the Trust's membership management service and is a secure website.

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software