Talent Comprehensive Plan



Our cultural heritage is one of our most valuable and important assets. Communities have a vital interest in the preservation and management of historic sites and structures for their scientific, cultural and economic value. The preservation and rehabilitation of historic resources are of prime importance. It protects aesthetic resources, and creates a positive factor for business location decisions. Rehabilitation projects create labor intensive jobs, conserve energy and material resources, and minimize the impacts of redevelopment on landfill capacity. For these and other reasons, promotion of the protection of historic and cultural resources is included in State Land Use Planning Goal 5.

The writers of the original Talent Comprehensive Plan recognized that historic buildings are familiar features that give people a sense of place, engendering a special feeling of affection and responsibility for one's hometown. An understanding of local history and daily contact with the landmarks that represent our community heritage create a vital link to who we are and where we have been as a community. For citizens who have lived in Talent for a long time, this history is their history. For the newcomers, the character of the town is often what brought them here. To preserve what is unique and charming and comfortable about the City of Talent, we must plan for the future based upon a healthy respect for the city's past.


Before European-American settlement of the Rogue Valley, the fertile alluvial plain provided sustenance for the Shasta people and various tribes of the Takelma people. The area provided acorns in abundance, camas bulbs, seeds and berries as well as deer, salmon and other fish. Field burning was practiced to allow harvest of tarweed seeds and also served to enhance understory conditions for berries. Abundant materials were available for the creation of twined baskets and dwellings. Winter homes were rectangular wood structures, built with tamped earth floors two feet or more subgrade. A low inner wall further insulated occupants from winter's cold, and provided room for storage between the two walls.

It is not clear how far north the Shasta tribes' territory extended when fur traders and later settlers entered the area. But it is known that a Shasta seasonal encampment was located along Wagner Creek near Bear Creek. Some historians believe the Shasta were the dominant tribe in this area before the Takelma took control. The


Latcava, a subgroup of the Takelma, lived in the immediate area of what is now Talent. One distinction between these two Takelma groups is that the Latcava used rafts for water travel, while others of the Takelma had canoes, a significant technological advantage.

The Takelma were a strongly territorial group of tribes with a communication system that allowed them to relay messages from the California border to the Willamette Valley. In spite of their sophisticated communications, it does not appear that the Takelma had a formal political structure beyond the tribal level. The different groups of Takelma and other area tribes were referred to collectively as the Rogue Indians.

It was only five years from the first successful settlement of the Wagner Creek area to the last battle of the “Rogue River War”. That last battle started in October 1855. Gold miners were particularly aggressive in the elimination of the native population, both by acts of aggression and by the destruction of fish habitat caused by typical mining practices. Local treaty attempts that included retention of hunting and fishing rights were never ratified. Treaty negotiations were primarily conducted in Chinook, a pidgin language that fur traders had developed in the process of trading in the region. This practice further undermined the possibility of fair or otherwise successful treaty negotiations.

After the war ended in June of 1856, the remaining native people were moved to a reservation at Table Rock. When local hostilities did not end, the Table Rock Reservation was dissolved and the local people were removed to the Grande Ronde Reservation on the Oregon coast. The Grande Ronde Reservation was closed in 1956, but the Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde were restored to tribal status in 1983, an action which restores the group's treaty rights.

At this time, the city does not have any evidence of archaeological or other Native American cultural resources located within the city and urban growth boundary. In the aftermath of the 1997 New Years Day Flood an archaeological assessment was required before streambank restoration could take place. No evidence of cultural resources was documented in that assessment.

European Settlement

The history of the settlement of Talent is a microcosm of the history of the settlement of the West. Dramatic changes in the society have typically been precipitated by changes in transportation systems. Pioneer wagon trains, the railroad, the automobile, the state highways and the “information superhighway” define the eras of local development.


The Pioneers - 1850 to 1880

The first settler in the area was Jacob Wagner who arrived in 1852 and completed his house in 1853. During the summer of 1853 Captain Alden and his men from Yreka California built a fort on Wagner's property to help protect early settlers from the Indians. The fort was also used as a place of worship.

Settlement had begun. From August 1853 to January 1854, three notable wagon trains arrived. The Lupton train included sixty wagons. The Preachers' train brought a number of ministers and church members. The Stearns train included twenty-eight family members and several other wagons.

One early Talent citizen, John Beeson, was an early proponent of civil rights for Native Americans. His writings on the affairs of the Indians and early settlers are still considered authoritative. His views were very controversial, both locally and in Washington, D.C. where he lobbied for Indian rights. He left the Rogue River Valley to avoid a lynch mob. His son, Welborn Beeson, kept a daily journal that began when his family began their trek to Oregon and continued throughout his life. His diaries are an excellent source of information about pioneer life in Oregon, and are preserved in the University of Oregon Special Collection.

Other notable early settlers include John P. Walker, D.P. Brittian, John Holton, and Sammuel Robinson. E.K. Anderson, his brother Firman, G.H. Lynch, William Patterson, and George F. Pennypacker. The history of the life and times of these settlers can be found in various historic references.

The city is named for another settler who came later, Aaron P. Talent. He was a carpenter and farmer, and he established what was probably the first retail business between Ashland and Phoenix when he opened a general store. The name “Vernon” was proposed for the town at one time, and A.P. Talent himself suggested the town be called “Wagner,” but the U.S. Post Office had the final authority, and they named the town Talent.

According to historic records and anecdotal information, the community can claim many firsts in the history of Southern Oregon.

  1. The first known school house in the County was built in the summer of 1854 on the banks of Bear Creek about a quarter mile northeast of the Fort Wagner.
  2. The first wheat and oats were planted and sold by E.K. and Firman Anderson in 1853.
  3. Sammuel Robinson set our peach seeds in 1853, establishing what is believed to be the first peach orchard in Southern Oregon.
  4. The first grapes grown in the valley were in the Wagner Creek area.

  1. Walnut trees located at the Van Aucken House (also known as the Emmet Beeson or Stearns place) were planted prior to 1859 and are believed to be the county's first. There are other walnut trees from this period associated with the Fort Wagner site, on Wagner Street near John Street and along Wagner Creek Road.
  2. Jacob Wagner established the first water right in Oregon when he dug irrigation delivery ditches from Wagner Creek to his fields. This feat was monumented by the state in 1952.
  3. One of the first two sawmills in Jackson County was operating on Wagner Creek as early as 1854.
  4. The Baptist Church at the corner of Main and “I” streets is the oldest Baptist church in Southern Oregon, and is believed to be the second oldest of its kind in the state.
  5. The first commercial agricultural shipment by train out of the Valley originated in Talent.
  6. Political firsts include the first woman in the state to be elected to public office after suffrage; Miss Leta Luke was elected as City Recorder in 1912. Also in 1912 the city elected William H. Breese mayor, one of very few Socialist mayors ever elected in the state. And in 1913 Minnie Vogelli was appointed as a City Councillor.

Diverse geographic features in the area are named for early settlers. Wagner Creek, Wagner Butte and Wagner Gap are all named for Jacob Wagner. Anderson Creek, Anderson Butte and Anderson Gap are named for the Eli K. Anderson family that arrived in 1854. McDonald Creek and McDonald Peak are named for D. McDaniels who was a gold miner in the area circa 1885. Greely Creek is named for Uncle Henry Greely who homesteaded up in Wagner Gap in the 1860's.

Town development in the pioneer period was near Wagner Creek along the old road from Phoenix to Ashland, which was in the general location of the current Talent Avenue. Community facilities included a stage stop, the Baptist Church and Fort Wagner. A second school was established near where Wagner Creek now crosses Rapp Road. The Baptist Church is the only downtown building remaining from this period.

The Railroad Era - 1880-1900

The railroad arrived in the Bear Creek Valley in the 1880's, and the rail to Talent was opened in 1884. However, the nearest depots were located in Ashland and Phoenix. On March 18, 1888 there was a meeting held for the express purpose of “obtaining a depot.” The community donated land to the railroad and acquired easements for a side rail. Those efforts enabled them to negotiate an agreement to establish the Talent Depot. Talent became an important shipping and receiving point, at first serving mainly the local farming community.

Construction of the railroad stimulated other commercial activity. Businesses including hotels,


restaurants, blacksmith shops, a barber shop and others were established. Sales and service businesses were concentrated between the railroad and the old highway.

The original town plat was developed in anticipation of the railroad depot. New residential development was encouraged in the area by the creation of over fifty residential lots. The original town plat located residential lots west of the railroad tracks and a variety of lots east of the tracks in the area that is now the downtown area. The town plat was recorded by A.P. Talent in 1889. The Gibson Street subdivision was also platted in this period. There are about twenty-one residences remaining in the city that appear to have been built prior to 1900. Some of them were originally farm houses. The building boom started by the introduction of rail service appears to have continued to some extent until the time of the Great Depression.

The Early Motor Age - 1900-1940

Talent was more of a commerce center around the turn of the century than it is today. Travel within and beyond the valley was slow. Even when the automobile came onto the scene around 1907, the lack of paved roads, the state of the technology and the fact that few people owned cars kept the pace of life relatively slow. Talent's first speed control ordinance set a seventeen mile per hour speed limit. The sales and service needs of the area were still best served by businesses located within walking and wagon distance from farms and homes.

The Old Pacific Highway was paved in the 1910's and twenties. The Jackson County section was the first paved for the full length of a county; the first leg of what was to become the most ambitious road project on the North American continent at that time.

In 1910, when the population was about two hundred fifty, the city was incorporated. Within a few years of incorporation municipal water, street lights, and private gas and electric service were available in Talent. After a major fire in 1911 destroyed most of the downtown commercial area, the town was rebuilt. Wolters Store (later, the original Rick's Market) was built after the fire. By 1923 the store, a bank, two hotels, a lumber yard, four churches, three lodges and various other businesses were established.

The area's farm economy was based upon the orchard industry, market garden produce and berries. The location of a cannery in Talent, sometime prior to 1923, encouraged commercial levels of production. Logging also gained an increasing economic share as the introduction of motorized vehicles increased access to timber and reduced the time and cost required to get logs to market. Logging activity was supported by several small mills in the Talent area. The population grew with commercial development. Soon after incorporation in 1910 there were


four subdivisions platted in the city. Residential development was mainly in the north part of town, along Gibson and Fairview Streets; along Front and First Streets north of Main; along Wagner and Main Streets west of the railroad tracks; and along Talent Avenue south of Wagner Street. A large lot subdivision, Hyde Park Subdivision, was platted outside of the city limits to the southeast, but it was never fully developed and has been redeveloped in the nineties with smaller single-family lots.

Talent grew steadily into the twenties when two major events changed the economic landscape permanently. In the late nineteen-twenties the main railroad service was shifted to Klamath Falls. And the Great Depression slowed commerce dramatically nationwide. Talent's estimated population of five hundred fifty in 1924 dropped to 381 by 1940. But the paving of the new, four lane Pacific Highway 99 in 1935 kept Talent on the map.

The Automobile Age - 1940-1960

Talent recovered quickly after the Depression. The population almost doubled between 1940 and 1950, to 739 people, and continued to grow to reach 868 by 1960. But the development of Highway 99 to the east of the downtown commercial district changed traffic patterns significantly, and downtown business suffered. The city annexed land out to the new highway and new commercial development was generally oriented to the highway corridor.

Increased mobility allowed the population to work and shop further from home and the town transformed from a service and commercial center to a quiet bedroom community. Talent became a part of a regional urban community rather than an independent urban center in its own right. Four new subdivisions invited residential growth; three inside the city limits (only one of which developed quickly) and one south of the city along the old section of Meadowslope Drive. Most new housing starts occurred as infill in older neighborhoods and along Talent Avenue where residential development extended further to the south.

The Freeway Period - 1960 to the Present

Interstate 5 was completed in the Rogue Valley in 1963, once again diverting through traffic away from Talent's commercial center. The freeway further enabled commuters to work and shop away from their home towns. The freeway brought national retailers to the Rogue Valley and encouraged the development of large retail centers that are accessible almost exclusively by car. The freeway also increased the viability of shipping fresh food products out of the region, allowing farming and value-added food products to continue as a mainstay of the local economy.


Commercial development has continued to be most active along Highway 99. Valley View Road between the freeway and the highway has also begun to be developed in the mid-nineties with a WalMart, ARCO and improvements to the Truck Stop attracting extra-local commercial traffic, a small shopping center that includes three restaurants and several small service businesses, and the redevelopment of the Hanscom Barn into an antique store.

Residential development has proceeded faster than commercial development in this period. The size of the city has more than tripled due to annexations. In the early part of this period seven mobile home parks were established that continue to provide much of the city's low and moderate income housing. There were eleven new subdivisions between 1960 and 1980 and about as many again from 1980 to 1998. Development of residential uses has extended south along Talent Avenue, to the west on North First, Second, Third and Fourth Streets, and more recently across Highway 99 between Valley View and Suncrest Roads. Development was slow in the eighties due to an economic recession that started in 1981 and caused major job losses throughout the region.

Subdivisions platted since 1990 have usually been built out quickly, with contemporary developers both creating the lots and constructing the homes. Housing alternatives established since 1960 include independent living and assisted care options for older citizens as well as a retirement subdivision and an adult manufactured home park; two large apartment complexes for both adults and families; and an apartment complex developed for farm worker families.

The Information Age

While surface transportation options still shape new land development decisions, the information age is affecting the city in a subtle but profound way. Electronic information technologies create economic opportunities unlike any others in history. There are many computer-based home occupations in the city and new home occupation applications are dominated by computer-based businesses. In addition, many home occupations are service businesses that require only phone use and record keeping in the home. An increase in people working at home reverses a long period of time characterized by increasing commute times and distances. We have spent almost a hundred and fifty years working constantly to increase opportunities for moving people and products further and faster. Now the opportunity to maintain contact with the world without leaving our homes has the potential to reverse that trend. People working at home are more likely to use local services and to spend time in local places. In turn, they are likely to experience an enhanced “sense of place” that includes pride in the city's cultural resources and the quality of neighborhoods.


Historic Preservation Efforts to Date

When the original Talent Comprehensive Plan was developed in 1978-1981, the City Planner proposed a Historic Element to be included in the plan. No historic element was adopted directly into the plan, but a Historical Element Data report was developed that was adopted by reference. The “History of Talent” section of this element is based, in part, upon the brief history told in that report. The report includes some interesting maps showing development at the different stages of the city's development. Map “A.” Early History 1850-1880, shows the location of several pioneer era landmarks. Map “B,” Railroad Commercial History 1880-1900 inventories known landmarks of the railroad development period. Map “C,” Railroad Residential History 1880-1900, shows the locations of several houses of this period. The original town limits and new structures established in the wake of the 1911 downtown fire are shown on Map “D,” Early Motor Age History: 1900-1940. Map “F” shows development between 1960 and 1978.

Chapter II of the 1981 Comprehensive Plan includes two policies showing a commitment to historic protection. Findings and Policies Issue #5 states that “(a)reas, sites and structures important to Talent's identity and history shall be identified and preserved,” and further prescribes minimal street development standards and the concept of design compatibility for new structures. Issue #6 item 6, regarding “buffering” generally, anticipates a need to buffer or otherwise protect historic resources from incompatible uses and architectural styles.

The 1980 Talent Zoning Ordinance (as amended) includes Article 13, a “Historic Sites, Buildings and District Overlay” zone. The article specifies two parts of town, the part of the original town plat that lies west of the railroad tracks, and the Gibson Street neighborhood, as the historic district. It also names sixteen properties as historic resources. It is clear that many important historic resources are not included on this list, primarily in the downtown area. The ordinance is typical of such ordinances of its time, and doesn't provide clear direction how new construction and reconstruction can be accomplished that will be compatible with the historic character of any affected structure or area.

Talent has an active Historical Society that was incorporated as a nonprofit corporation on June 3, 1994. It had its first public event and membership drive in May of that year, and by Fall had eighty members. The group is incorporated as a 501-3-C nonprofit organization. The Historical Society maintains a small museum in the Community Center. In 1998 the Historical Society hired a director with professional management experience.

In Fall 1994 the City Council created the Architectural Review Committee to implement the review process assigned to the Planning Commission in Article 13. At this time the City Planner requires developers to consult with the Architectural Review Committee


before signing off on construction plans for affected properties. Compliance with the committee's recommendations is voluntary, but compliance levels are high, due in large part to the common sense approach taken by the committee. The committee also actively seeks out material resources that developers can incorporate into their projects, usually at a cost savings.

The Community Center Restoration Commission was also formed in 1994. This group was formed to complete the community center restoration project started by the Historical Society the previous year. The group has secured grant money for complete restoration of the facility and the ongoing repairs are scheduled for completion in 1999.

In June of 1994 the City completed a “Historic Context Statement” that expands upon the history of the area. The Context Statement is adopted herein by reference as a supporting document to this element and as a source of more detailed historic information. The study was funded by a grant from the State of Oregon Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) [1]. The purpose of a context statement is to put the human geography and development patterns of the town into context in a manner that can be used to evaluate the significance of individual resources. There is a summary of local history, a description of housing and commercial building types and styles represented or expected to be represented in the city, and an explanation of how “significance” is determined and ranked for historic properties. The study further discusses the current status of historic preservation efforts in the city and makes recommendations for improvement of the ordinance discussed above. One strong recommendation was that the city conduct a detailed inventory of historic resources.

[1] SHPO is funded by the National Parks Service. Additional funding was provided by the Talent Urban Renewal Agency and Pacific Power.


A year later, in July of 1995 a “Survey of Cultural and Historic Resources” was completed, with the original town plat as the study area. That survey is adopted herein by reference as a supporting document to this element and as a source of more detailed historic information. This study was also funded by a grant from SHPO [2]. The inventory started with 216 individual properties. Through a process of eliminating properties that failed to meet historic criteria, an inventory was developed. Based upon a methodology that is described in detail in the inventory report, seventy-two properties, structures and other resources were found to have historic significance and were classified as “primary,” “secondary,” and “contributing.”

In 1996 the city produced “Building Right: A Guide to Construction and Remodeling in Talent's Historic District.” This project was funded half by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and half by the City. The guide book is intended to help property owners in the historic district to design construction and remodeling projects that fit in with their neighborhood. The guide book has both simple rules of thumb and specific design and materials information.

In 1996 the city also approved a site development plan for a new transit depot next to the railroad tracks on Main Street, designed and to be developed with grant and transportation funds. The depot structure will be a reproduction of the historic Talent train station. It will also be the focal point of proposed mixed use, transit oriented land use planning in the downtown area. The State Historic Preservation Office considers such reconstruction to be a valid preservation effort, adding to the historic context of the city.

All of the above planning and information projects demonstrate the city's ongoing commitment to historic preservation. The notion of successful historic preservation resulting from a voluntary program is compelling. But growth pressures in Talent are increasing, and relying on a voluntary program under high growth conditions may not be adequate to protect the historic fabric of the town.

The following policies and implementation strategies are intended to encourage historic preservation in a manner that protects our way of life and improves the local economy over the long term.

[2] Additional contributions were received from the Urban Renewal District, Western Bank, Brian Prechtel Photography and Valley of the Rogue Bank.



The purpose of this Comprehensive Plan Element is to establish policies and implementation strategies to encourage activities that contribute to the protection of the historic context of the area by further improving our understanding of local history, optimizing opportunities for preserving our historic resources, and promoting compatible new construction.

POLICY 1: A Sense of Place. It is the policy of the City of Talent to preserve the historic resources of the city as a way to maintain its unique character and to provide for the social and economic needs of the people who live here.

Findings: A 1995 study of values and community issues in Talent, funded by the state Transportation and Growth Management project resulted in a document titled “I Feel Famous Here.” While the social landscape is changing because of population growth, for many residents there is still a sense that everyone knows everyone. The “I feel Famous . . .” study concludes that many of the reasons people give for moving to or remaining in Talent are shared across all sectors of the local population, regardless of the number of years spent in Talent, ethnicity, age group, education or income levels. The citizens of Talent value its rural atmosphere. They want transportation improvements and new businesses that improve the functionality of the town. They want pedestrian connections between neighborhoods so they can use the town the way its founders used it before the days of the automobile. Historic preservation and designing and scaling new construction to be compatible with the traditional scale of buildings in and around historic sites and neighborhoods help to support this vision.

  1. Review all proposals for new development in and around historic resources to find opportunities to create or maintain pedestrian connections between neighborhoods, public areas and private enterprises.
  2. Minimize pavement in historic neighborhoods by promoting the use of paved pedestrian paths in areas where urban style curb/gutter/sidewalk development is inappropriate and by adopting development standards allowing minimal street widths without compromising public safety, utilities or public transportation. Consider the possibility of vacating excess right-of-way on side streets that do not have the potential to become through streets.

  1. Promote downtown development with signs, facades and displays oriented to sidewalks, and with parking behind buildings to the fullest extent possible.
  2. Develop outdoor lighting standards in historic areas and near historic sites that are appropriate to the style and scale of development as well as Talent's history.
  3. Include green areas and street trees in historic areas and at redevelopment sites near historic sites to maintain the rural character of the city and to promote a sense of safety and comfort for pedestrians.
  4. Encourage the inclusion of benches and other pedestrian friendly elements in public and private spaces to encourage people to spend time in the downtown and other neighborhoods.
  5. Encourage the development and maintenance of quality housing in the downtown and other central areas to promote foot traffic for downtown businesses and a 24-hour presence in the core area.

POLICY 2: Good Information is Vital for Both Education and a Sensible Approach to Historic Preservation. It is the policy of the City to continue to collect information about local historic resources and to support the Talent Historical Society as the archive for local historic information.

Findings: Historic buildings and sites are familiar features that give people a sense of place, engendering a special feeling of affection and responsibility for one's hometown. To preserve what is unique, charming and comfortable about the City of Talent, we must plan for the future based upon a healthy respect for the city's past. The basis for such planning is the collection and analysis of the best available historic information. Information about the area's history prior to European settlement, in particular, is needed to ensure that cultural resources are not violated due to ignorance.

  1. Complete the inventory of historic sites, buildings and features within the city and the urban growth boundary.
  2. Encourage additional research on pre-settlement peoples.

  1. Amend applicable ordinances to ensure that historic inventory information is provided with applications for any proposed Urban Growth Boundary adjustment or annexation, and for any new development on lands outside of the inventory study area.
  2. Collect and maintain records of sites and structures that have been or are proposed to be demolished in order to maintain the basis for the historic context of the city.
  3. Support the Talent Historical Society as the local archive for historic records.

POLICY 3: Education is the Key to Developing a Lasting Commitment to Historic Preservation. It is the policy of the City to make information about historic resources readily available to all interested parties.

Findings: Our cultural heritage is one of our most valuable and important assets. An understanding of local history and daily contact with the landmarks that represent our community heritage create a vital link to who we are and where we have been as a community. For citizens who have lived in Talent for a long time, this history is their history. For new residents, the character of the town is often what brought them here. The City has an interest in educating the public about the city's history, particularly so they understand the basis for our commitment to historic preservation.

  1. Collect and make available educational materials and activities to share the history of the city and the surrounding area, to promote understanding and to encourage historic preservation.
  2. Maintain a pro-active relationship between the City Planner, the Architectural Review Committee, the Talent Historical Society, the Southern Oregon Historical Society, and the local library to make local cultural and historic resources accessible to all.
  3. Develop and distribute an annual advisory to all historic property owners to ensure that they understand the status of their property, local regulatory authority, financial benefits and incentives for historic preservation, and their opportunities for community support for restoration and other improvements.

  1. Work with schools to disseminate historic information, encouraging the inclusion of local history in the curriculum.

POLICY 4: Historic Preservation is Important to the Local Economy. It is the policy of the City to capitalize upon local historic resources to create a positive business climate.

Findings: The preservation and rehabilitation of historic resources are important factors in business location decisions because it demonstrates the vitality of the community and is attractive to employees who must relocate for their jobs. It conveys a sense of continuity and stability in the community. Rehabilitation projects create labor intensive jobs, conserve energy and material resources, and minimize the impacts of redevelopment on landfill capacity. For these and other reasons, protection of historic and cultural resources has a long term beneficial impact on the local economy.

  1. Encourage business by creating an aesthetically pleasing, pedestrian friendly downtown that respects the scale, design and site characteristics of existing historic structures.
  2. Encourage a variety of functions including public, residential and commercial uses in the downtown core area that serve local needs and that create a safe, neighborly environment around the clock.
  3. Develop a downtown plan that incorporates design standards that integrate historic preservation and traditional downtown development into a broader plan for mixed use, transit oriented development.

POLICY 5: Preservation of Existing Historic Resources is an Opportunity that the City Cannot Afford to Lose. It is the policy of the city to take all reasonable measures to prevent the loss of historic resources.

Findings: Communities have an interest in the preservation and management of historic sites and structures for their scientific, cultural and economic value. The preservation and rehabilitation of historic resources are important as an aesthetic and material resources. The craftsmanship that went into construction in the past is not the


same as contemporary construction practice. The quality of the materials used in the past often cannot be duplicated with readily available construction materials. Historic structures can be emulated in new construction, but they cannot be replaced.

  1. Expand the Historic District based upon the Survey of Cultural and Historic Resources and the Original Town Plat.
  2. Consider creation of a buffer overlay zone around historic sites and areas.
  3. Continue to share ideas and information among the Urban Renewal District, Public Works Department, Parks Commission, Architectural Review Committee and Planning Commission to avoid missed opportunities to coordinate historic preservation into development plans.
  4. Enthusiastically promote the preservation of existing historic resources and of their surrounding areas to avoid losing the opportunity to do so.
  5. Encourage building styles that are architecturally compatible within the existing historic context.
  6. Encourage developers to utilize architectural styles that maintain the historic context, functionality and overall appearance of the specific site and the neighborhood.
  7. Develop a thematic/multiple property submission to get local properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places and encourage all appropriate historic property owners to participate. Encourage individual listings for primary historic properties.
  8. Pursue the possibility of establishing a redevelopment corporation to purchase and/or rehabilitate neglected or derelict properties in historic areas.
  9. Continue to develop incentives for property owners including location of appropriate building materials, working with businesses to secure special discounts, working with lenders to establish financing, and developing information about other benefits of historic preservation.
  10. Document the success stories as local property owners work through the application and development process.


POLICY 6: Design Review. It is the policy of the City to develop and apply clear and objective standards for design review to promote fairness and to get consistent results.

Findings: The current zoning chapter that addresses Historic Preservation, Article 13 of the Talent Zoning Ordinance, does not provide objective standards for approval or denial of design review requests. Consequently, the results of the review process could vary significantly from case to case. Any effort to preserve historic properties or to oversee appropriate infill projects will be more successful if the developer has clear guidance early in the design process about what is expected and required. Compliance will be much easier for all concerned if the application and review process is perceived to be fair.

  1. Develop a new Article 13 that includes clear and objective standards for building design and site development plans, as recommended in detail in the Historic Context Statement.
  2. Adopt the “Building Right” guidelines for use by all developers working in the historic district and in the downtown core by including the guidelines in a revised Article 13 of the zoning ordinance.
  3. Encourage the use of the “Building Right” guidelines for all new construction and remodeling projects throughout the city, especially in and around historic buildings and sites.

POLICY 7: Authority and Responsibility. It is the policy of the City to continue to rely upon the Architectural Review Committee to interpret and apply local regulations for historic preservation.

Findings: The notion of successful historic preservation resulting from a voluntary program is compelling. But growth pressures in Talent are increasing, and relying on a voluntary program under high growth conditions may not be adequate to protect the historic fabric of the town. Currently, the zoning ordinance assigns historic review to the Planning Commission, but the City Council has subsequently assigned that


oversight to the Architectural Review Committee. When the city has established clear and objective standards for design review, the Architectural Review Committee will have a clear basis upon which to review proposals and make recommendations to the Planning Commission.

  1. Continue to provide free consultation and information through the Architectural Review Committee.
  2. Maintain a neighborly, cooperative approach to design review that is flexible and adaptive to the special circumstances of the applicant.