Sanford considering moratorium on new apartment buildings

The City of Sanford is considering a moratorium on new apartment buildings. That’s something several people walking around the city told FOX 35 News they would support.

Jill Warren says she thinks it has gotten to a point where the city should take a step back.

"Enough is enough," she said.

Her son, Ron Warren, lives near the River Walk. He also said he thinks it’s time to give new builds a rest.

"Every time they put up a new place, that gives them an excuse to raise my rent."

Ron Warren said in one lease cycle, the rent at his apartment complex went up $325 a month. He was priced out and says he’s moving in a couple of weeks as a result. 

"I really love living here, and I’d love to stay here, but it just isn’t going to work."

Sanford’s mayor says if they did move forward with a moratorium, it would only be temporary. 

"We’ve had a real boon in an apartment building lately and added several thousand units, and we have several thousand in the works," Mayor Art Woodruff told FOX 35. 

Mayor Woodruff says there are three main things the city is thinking about as it considers the moratorium. The first is public safety. They’re ensuring there are enough police officers and firefighters to keep up with people moving into new apartments.

There are 51 apartment buildings in Sanford, and the city’s police department got a little under 9,000 calls for service from them over the course of last year. Sanford’s Police Chief says those numbers aren’t unusual. 


"If you are looking at compared from 2023 to compared to 2022, you'll actually see that there was a decrease in the number of calls for service," Chief Cecil Smith told Sanford’s City Commission on Tuesday.

The second thing the mayor says the city’s thinking about is water and sewer capability. Sanford’s water treatment plant has been undergoing some renovations. In October, FOX 35 reported the plant got overloaded and flooded raw sewage into Lake Monroe, and the last consideration, the Mayor says, is just what people want in their community. 

"What is it that people want, and how do we make sure we're providing that community in that city for the residents we have now and the ones we'll have in the future?" Mayor Woodruff elaborated.

Several community members told FOX 35 they don’t want to see more wooded areas taken down to make space for more buildings. They’re worried about the environmental impact.

"The wildlife being destroyed is unbelievable," Jill Warren said. "Our children are going to have nothing. All they’re going to see is cement."

However, the police chief has something else to consider, too: traffic.

"On a daily basis, you know, we may say that we have 70,000 people bedroom units in the city, but there's 250,000 plus people who are on our roadways every single day that's coming in and out," said Chief Smith.

The mayor also noted they might go with something called "zoning in progress." That lets contractors start new builds if they want but notifies them that rules may change along the way. The city will discuss this again at their next meeting on Monday, February 26.