The wall debate: Business owner upset over fence built by church

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Business owner upset with church over fence, Deborah Wrigley reports. (KTRK)

A few weeks ago, a fence was built on the perimeter of Mt. Corinth Church in Houston's Fifth Ward.

The church is a landmark in the neighborhood -- standing in its current location for nearly 70 years. The congregation was founded in the late 19th century.

The reason for the fence is unclear, at least to neighbor Arthur Smith.

Smith said he talked to the pastor about it.

"I would ask what's your real reasoning for putting the wall up," he said.

Instead, Smith called the city of Houston, filing a complaint with 311. The fence is 12 feet high, which requires permit approval. Standard fences are 8 feet and need no permit approval.

On the side of Smith's leased building is a mural painted by him and his wife talking about voter participation. The couple has a voter registration outreach next to the t-shirt printing business, which is on the other side of the fence.

"There's nothing derogatory, no cuss words, nothing obscene on this wall at all," he said.

He took to Facebook Live to detail his complaints.

On Tuesday, city inspectors "red-tagged" the fence for its lack of a permit and a recreation building. Inspectors are requiring proof of permits for remodeling that was completed some time ago.

Street parking signs that appeared to designate staff and church member only parking were also tagged.

Despite repeated attempts to reach Pastor Alan Patterson, we were unable to speak with him. Instead, attorney Ben Hall, who represents the church, met with Smith.

"We will get all the issues addressed with the city in the next 24 to 48 hours," Hall said.

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