Insurance repairs lands homeowner in hot water with city

HOUSTON Tessa Wilkins owns a 1920's bungalow in the Heights east neighborhood. She says she had workers replace rotten wood soffit with hardiplank. Her home was red tagged by a city inspector and the work was shut down three quarters away from completion. Wilkins claims the inspector threatened them with an $800 fine if they continued the work.

Wilkins believes she was tagged for violating the city's Historic Preservation Ordinance. She says she missed the deadline by a day to receive a certificate of appropriateness from the Houston Archaeological and Historical Commission and couldn't risk losing her homeowners insurance, so she went ahead with the repairs.

A spokesperson with the city's Planning and Development Department says this case has nothing to do with historic preservation. Suzy Hartgrove says all Wilkins needed was a building permit to complete these repairs, not a certificate from the commission. Hartgrove says it would have only taken a day to pull the permit.

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