Can Someone Fill Me In?

I don’t know the entire story about THIS, but can someone please fill me in? It’s going to cost this lady like $25,000 to fix her house… an 85 year old woman. I understand about zoning, property values, and the face of the community, but I wonder if there is some sort of help for folks that can’t afford re-doing work or certain renovations.

Sorry to be clueless, but I would be curious to know more about this particular story if anyone knows.

7 Comments so far

  1. Katherine Coble (unregistered) on July 8th, 2006 @ 8:29 pm

    This has been going on FOREVER. 2/3rds of the time that I’ve lived here. It pops up every 2 or 3 years at least. I can’t believe it’s over.

    Basically the lady owned a house in an historic district. The zoning laws for that district are very strict. Since it is “historical” there are limited acceptable modifications that can be made to the houses. Adding vinyl siding is not acceptable.

    She added vinyl siding, and pled ignorance of the rules. She’s been playing the “little old lady” card, which kind of frustrates me. She owns this property and enjoys the revenues and tax breaks that come with being part of an historic district, yet she thinks she doesn’t need to comply with the fundamental rules that exist to keep her (and her neighbors’) property values up.

    She’s been in litigation for a decade now, trying to be exceptioned out of the rules. Yes, it’s costing her $25K. It wouldn’t have cost her that much to a) do it right the first time and b) do it immediately after she received notice that she was out of compliance.


  2. Mister Nashville (unregistered) on July 8th, 2006 @ 9:15 pm

    Thanks Katherine. I researched a little more and found a few articles saying pretty much what you said. TEN YEARS!!


  3. Kate O' (unregistered) on July 9th, 2006 @ 7:44 am

    She’s been in litigation for a decade now, trying to be exceptioned out of the rules. Yes, it’s costing her $25K. It wouldn’t have cost her that much to a) do it right the first time and b) do it immediately after she received notice that she was out of compliance.

    Yeah, that’s pretty much the way I understood it, too — that the neighbors offered a LONG time ago to help with it, even to do it for her, and that she wanted to persist with trying to prove that she could get around it.


  4. Gunner (unregistered) on July 9th, 2006 @ 8:04 pm

    that the neighbors offered a LONG time ago to help with it, even to do it for her, and that she wanted to persist with trying to prove that she could get around it.

    That does not give them the ability to force her to change her house. You simply said that since they tried it nicely the first time she should have given in. THAT IS WRONG!.

    It is her house. Nice does not mean they were right. It now simply means they have better lawyers.


  5. Benjamin H. (unregistered) on July 9th, 2006 @ 11:41 pm

    I wonder which is correct, the Tennessean or the TV news reports. Several details differ between reports. The TV report I saw said it was her husband who added the siding shortly before he died, though still, she is still responsible for her residence. The rules for historical districts are well known and to say that because she is a little old lady she should be exempt would make a case for anyone else in a historical district to make modifications to their homes as well…turning them into, ahem, un-‘istorical districts. Exceptions to rules are bad things, in my opinion.

    Another difference from the Tennessean’s report said she owns a number of other valuable properties, and thus is not nearly as bad off for money as she would have others believe. I’m not feeling very sorry for her in this case.

    Of course, tell me I’m wrong, err, if I’m wrong….


  6. Gam (unregistered) on July 10th, 2006 @ 2:21 pm

    I’d do it for $20K


  7. Kate O' (unregistered) on July 13th, 2006 @ 7:49 pm

    Gunner, I don’t know. My perspective may be skewed — I live in a historic neighborhood that doesn’t have the same kind of zoning regulations this woman’s neighborhood does. Yet I still work to comply with the preferences of the Metro Historic Zoning Commission and the neighborhood association itself… because why should I mess up a good thing?

    I’m not saying she doesn’t have the right to be stubborn about it; I just can’t relate to why anyone would want to behave that way.



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