PHOENIX — Plans to raze a house at 301 W. Second St. have been put on hold for at least 90 days after an Ashland historic preservation consultant pointed out its significance to Phoenix history.
George Kramer, who has helped place dozens of Jackson County structures on the National Register of Historic Places, said the house likely was built by the pioneer Steadman family sometime in the late 1800s. Its historical significance and structural integrity make it a prime candidate for preservation, he said.
"I had never seen the Steadman house and I was aware that there was a pending demolition," Kramer told the council at its Monday meeting. "I was out surveying other houses and I drove by and I thought, 'This can't be the same house that's pending demolition, the house that is beyond repair.' "
Kramer said the belief that the house was a lost cause was "an unfortunate miscommunication."
Council President Bruce Sophie said the Planning Commission "did not have all the necessary information" on the Steadman House when it approved its demolition in January.
The council agreed to delay a decision on the Planning Commission's recommendation for 90 days while more information is gathered.
Demolition was requested in October by Marion Jerry and Alice Jane Moore, who purchased the house when they married in 1966.
After 12 years they turned it into a rental, but the couple are now retired and want to return to the property to live.
The Moores said in their letter to the Planning Commission that because the house lacks a foundation and insulation and is unsuitable for them to live in, they want to raze it and build a new house.
The Phoenix Historical Society initially gave its blessing, but representatives said Monday they had since rescinded their approval after learning the house was salvageable.
Phoenix Urban Renewal Agency Director Marla Cates said the house is not currently in the urban renewal district, but boundaries could be slightly adjusted to allow it to possibly qualify for urban renewal dollars for restoration.
The Moores did not attend Monday's meeting. City officials said they were out of town.
Parks Commission member Chris Luz urged the council to allow the Moores to do as they wish with the property.
Kramer said the Moores had several options that could save the house, including restoring it completely and building a modern addition next door or moving it to another site. A porch that shows signs of pending collapse could be removed. He did not provide estimates on the costs associated with those options.
Buffy Pollock is a freelance reporter living in Medford. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.