PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- The Phoenix Historic Preservation Commission voted unanimously to initiate historic preservation overlay zoning on a 93-year-old home at 7019 N. Central Avenue.
Neighbors and the North Central Phoenix Homeowner's Association (NCPHA) were fighting to get the home deemed historic ever since the filing of a demolition permit in late April.
"We're very passionate about this because we believe that without preservation of this home, it's continued precedence for other estate lots to be subdivided," said Anne Enders, president of the NCPHA.
Karl Tunberg, the realtor for the home, says the demolition permit was filed just in case the future homeowners wanted to tear the house down and start over new. Developers have also been interested in subdividing the 1.2-acre lot.
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"In order to attempt to subdivide this lot, variances would need to be filed. Currently, the property owner does not meet all four of the state-mandated requirements for a variance," said another member of the NCPHA.
The homeowners, David and America Young, inherited the home 23 years ago. They live out of state but hoped to retire in Phoenix someday. However, they told the Historic Preservation Commission that after spending thousands of dollars in repairs over the last two decades, the home became a money pit.
"I'm setting this up so that people can donate money to help to restore this property. If we have to sell it to a contractor to demolish it, that's what we have to do for ourselves," said David.
The Youngs don't want the house to be demolished and are willing to donate $100,000 to preserve the house built in 1926.
"It's our loss. It's our headache," America said. "It's our loss, and we're old, and we're tired, and we want to get rid of it. We offered the best way that we felt was fair to salvage it to be fair to us and to be fair to the community, and they rejected it."
Because the commission voted to begin the historic preservation process, the Youngs believe they could be out about half a million dollars.
"If you own a house, think about the city coming in and telling you you can't sell your house at a reasonable price, and you have to take a 30% reduction to sell your house, and that's exactly what we've been told," David said. "We may have lost a half million dollars. Nobody knows what the house will sell for until the check is handed to us and is cashed."
The house is currently on the market for $1.8 million.
NCPHA and neighbors spoke up at the meeting after the Youngs made their presentation.
"The neighborhood feels so strongly about maintaining this overlay that we are fully prepared to oppose subdivision to the highest level. In our opinion, this lot is not divisible today, tomorrow, next month or two years from now," said one speaker.
"I walk by that house every morning. Yeah, it's kind of in a rundown state, but if somebody was able to come in and preserve this, and make it what it truly is, then that would continue to be what North Central is all about," said another speaker.
Michelle Dodd, with the Phoenix Historic Preservation Commission, says this process is far from over, and it doesn't mean the home can never be demolished--it will just be a lengthier process. The house will need to be rezoned, which requires at least four more public meetings. The property owners can also argue that this overlay is causing financial hardship. Ultimately, the decision is up to the City Council.
The Youngs say they will get legal advice.
They have 20 days to file an appeal.