I got this error message in apache error logs :
/some/path/to/.htaccess pcfg_openfile: unable to check htaccess file, ensure it is readable
I was trying to access an image to something like http://www.domain.be/image/picture.jpg
The error message is very misleading because the real issue was just inappropriate rights on the folder “image”. (I did not have anything involving htaccess around there).
I had the folder chmod’ed 644 for some reason.
A “chmod 755 image” fixed the problem..