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City Ordinance Prevents Blanchard Man From Rebuilding After 2011 Tornado

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The tornado wiped out James Fook's home. He didn't have insurance. Now, he's ready to rebuild but a city ordinance is stopping him. The tornado wiped out James Fook's home. He didn't have insurance. Now, he's ready to rebuild but a city ordinance is stopping him.
BLANCHARD, Oklahoma -

He lost everything in the May 24, 2011 tornado. But now a Blanchard man has to fight city hall to rebuild after his property has been rezoned.

The tornado wiped out James Fook's home. He didn't have insurance.

But now, he's says he's saved up enough money and is ready to start building a new house on the same property. But when he went to apply for a building permit, the City of Blanchard told him the land was now zoned agricultural and he needed two and a half acres to build on the property. James only has one acre. If he would have started to build within six months of the tornado he would have been okay. But now it's too late.

"It's hard to handle, it really is," said Fook. "I feel like they're stomping me when I'm down."

Blanchard City Manager Robert Floyd says they understand James's predicament and are sympathetic. But City Ordinance prevents them from issuing a building permit.

"Once he didn't build within that six months' time frame he lost what we call that grandfather clause," said Floyd.

So James will now have to convince the city Adjustment Board to make an exception.

"I'd like to build a house, you know something I can live in," said Fook. "Right now I consider myself basically homeless."

The Blanchard Board of Adjustment is holding a special meeting on Thursday night at 6:00 p.m. to decide if they will let James bend the rules and rebuild.

If the board does not approve James's request, he can then take his case to District Court.

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