Historic commission approves demolition of circa 1880 home on Moore Street

The Beaufort Historic Preservation Commission agreed earlier this month to a request from the owners of 308 Moore St. to demolish the main home after extensive termite damage was found. (Jackie Starkey photo)

BEAUFORT — In what participants noted was a rare move, Beaufort’s Historic Preservation Commission, on the recommendation of town staff and a state preservation official, agreed with a property owner’s request to demolish the single-family home at 308 Moore St.

The decision came during the panel’s July 7 meeting, held virtually via Zoom.

“Unfortunately, I have to give my blessing for it to go,” John Wood, preservation/restoration specialist for the State Historic Preservation Office, told the HPC.

After reportedly working to restore the home on Moore Street, the owners discovered extensive termite damage throughout the structure.

“The (termites) had significantly damaged all the structural system of that building, from the stills all the way to the rafter, all the floor joists, all the wall studs, the corner joists,” Mr. Wood said. “…As preservation professionals, we rarely support or recommend the demolition of historic properties.”

The home, once plaqued as the Parsons House according to materials provided to the board, is a 1.5-story, side-gable home that has undergone improvements over the years. Officials noted that while it looks fine from the outside, once modern finishes were removed, the damage was apparent.

In an email to staff, Mr. Wood noted the damage was some of the most extensive he had ever seen, prompting town staff to also favor the requested demolition.

“Based on the level of damage, the extent of damage, it would really be cost prohibitive to rehabilitate or restore that structure,” Mr. Wood testified. “If it was restored, there would be more new material than old material.”

In their own testimony before the HPC, which is a quasi-judicial body, homeowners Donald and Elizabeth Patterson said they would follow historic district guidelines that accompany demolition proceedings, including salvaging what materials they can, preserving trees on the lots and being mindful of historical artifacts that may turn up on the property during the teardown, as wells as and grading and seeding the lot.

“A majority of the time staff … has not necessarily been supportive of individual structures being demolished,” Town Planning and Inspections Director Kyle Garner said. “Usually we try to ask for the 365 days to work things out (and save contributing structures). This is not one of those situations, so I will go on record to testify to that piece that we just don’t see this as a possibility that can be rectified.”

The HPC unanimously agreed.

In other action at the HPC’s July 7 meeting, the panel:

  • Approved a request from Joey McClure to cover the east- and west-facing second-floor brick walls of Clawson’s 1905 Restaurant, at 429 Front St., with stucco to prevent deterioration. HPC member Joyce McCune was recused as a part-owner of the property. The HPC had delayed the request in June to wait for a sample stucco color.
  • Approved a request from David Choate to enclose an area on the first floor and paint the exterior of 105 Gallants Lane, a noncontributing structure in the historic district.
  • Approved a new single-family home at 214 Broad St., with the conditions the applicant uses the same outdoor lights around the entire structure and a large tree, set to be removed, will be replaced by another large tree on the property.  
  • Approved signage for Beaufort Pirates Revenge LLC at 600 Front St.


Contact Jackie Starkey at 252-726-7081, ext. 225; email jackie@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @jackieccnt.

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