Homeowner: 'I feel like I'm being forced out of my house'

Homeowner: 'I feel like I'm being forced out of my house'
Craford lost his boat and van from tree damage (Source: WALB)
Craford lost his boat and van from tree damage (Source: WALB)
Jerry Crawford (Source: WALB)
Jerry Crawford (Source: WALB)

DOUGHERTY CO., GA (WALB) - A Dougherty County homeowner with substantial storm damage has been told he has to raise his house three feet, or he can't get the permits to make repairs.

Jerry Crawford believes if the County doesn't evaluate homes on a case-by-case basis, many people will simply move.

"I don't want to have to move," said Crawford. "I don't want to have to tear my house down."

Jerry Crawford may have no other choice.

The Dougherty County resident has lived in his Radium Springs area home since 1997.

Due to the county's floodplain regulations, his contractor can't get a permit to fix his storm-damaged home.

His house is in a high-risk flood area. Since he has more than 50 percent damage, he can either rebuild and raise it, or abandon it.

"Can I afford to tear this house down and build it back up 3 feet taller? The answer to that is no," said Crawford.

Crawford estimates it would cost around $100,000 to raise his home.

The retired Air Force veteran and his wife have been living in hotels since the January tornado hit.

He already has lost so much in the storm.

The senior citizen doesn't want his address to be the next on the list.

"I feel like I'm being forced out of my house, and I'm not trying to be ugly, I just feel that, that ain't fair," Crawford proclaimed.

According to Crawford and his contractors, the house has no foundation damage.

The major problem is the roof, but he's willing to abandon reconstruction of expendable portions like his patio, which was also destroyed by a tree.

His house also sustained no water damage in the flood of 1998.

Crawford wants the county to re-evaluate his home, or they may lose a taxpayer.

"If I got to relocate because they're saying I have to do my house up, I'm subject to find another county."

And he figures he won't be alone.

"You will have a lot of vacancies in this area," Crawford said. "I can almost assure you of that."

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