ONLY ON 3: Man loses home in Florence, now forced out of garage

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80-year-old Army veteran John Ganey says his garage has everything he needs. But the town says he cannot live there. (Photo: Matt Bennett/WWAY)

BOILING SPRING LAKES, NC (WWAY) —  An 80-year-old Boiling Spring Lakes man has spent the last few months living in his garage, after Hurricane Florence destroyed his home. Now he’s being told he isn’t allowed to live there anymore.

Army veteran John Ganey says he’s lived in Boiling Spring Lakes for close to 30 years. He and his dog have spent the past four months living in his garage.

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“I can take a bath in there, I can go to the bathroom in there, I can use my sewer tank out there to dump everything,” said Ganey.

Last week, Boiling Spring Lakes Code Enforcement put a notice on Ganey’s garage door informing him that he could no longer live there.

“I don’t see what’s unsafe about it. They’re saying it’s unsafe and unlivable. It’s not unlivable and it’s not unsafe,” said Ganey.

Chief code enforcement officer Ruth Bek says Ganey is in violation of the state building code.

“It was designed and built as a storage building. And anytime you alter the purpose of a building without coming and getting the permit and meeting the technical codes, you’re in violation,” said Bek.

Bek says the garage does not have a permanent source of heat, properly spaced electrical outlets, sleeping facilities, or sanitation facilities.

“He just simply cannot continue to stay in the garage, and, for lack of a better way to put it, do his business in a bucket and then take it out and pour it in a septic tank,” said Bek.

Ganey says a few days ago, a friend dropped off a camper for him to use. But the town says he needs to file the proper paperwork before he is able to use it.

Ganey says his nerves are shot and he’s just ready to sell the property.

“It’s not worth my time living here with what we’ve got running the town to me. I just want to get going,” said Ganey.

Ganey says he is saving up to have a modular home built on the property in September.
He says he’s been sleeping in his truck since the notice was posted to avoid being harassed by police.