EXCLUSIVE: Brunswick flood victims say city may force them from home use

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BRUNSWICK - Like many others, Chester George and his family were forced from their Brunswick home due to flooding in June.

“We packed up and really didn’t know where to go,” George says. 

Now, the George family is back in their home, but George said he is now being forced out by the city.

On July 8, 2019 George received a letter from the City of Brunswick that said he must comply with the Brunswick Floodplain Management Ordinance dating back to April 12, 2012. 

The ordinance reads: “Whereby the cost of restoring the structure would equal or exceed 50% of the structures value must be brought into compliance with the ordinance. For residential structure with 50% or more damage, the structures must either be removed with the floodplain or have the lowest floor (including basement) elevated. Failure to comply will result in daily fines and/or legal action.” 

George says the problem is, while there was only $8,000 worth of damage, his home is only worth $16,000.

“I live in one of the oldest homes in Brunswick,” George said. “They said to get my home back to where it was would cost $350,000. Now they are trying to kick me out.”

George said his pregnant daughter and her family of five were also forced from their home due to flooding in May, putting extra people under one roof. He said another move would leave them out of options.

“We will be under the Brunswick bridge,” George said.

At the bottom of the letter, city officials said to contact and schedule a meeting with the Floodplain Administrator, Cindy Collier, who is also the Mayor of Brunswick.

While the mayor wouldn't comment on George's case, she told KOMU 8 News the City is trying to help flood victims. 

“We want the people of Brunswick to take the steps in recovering,” Collier said. “We want them to purchase flood insurance.”

Collier said they want to address all the concerns the people of Brunswick may have.

“The county emergency management director is helping organize another town hall meeting with representatives from FEMA,” Collier said.