Home / Debate over storm shutters in Cape Coral causes changes to proposal

Debate over storm shutters in Cape Coral causes changes to proposal

Reporter: Zach Oliveri Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:

New developments have emerged in the battle over storm shutters in Southwest Florida’s largest city. Some residents don’t like being told when they can and can’t have their shutters up.

But, some firefighters say that it’s dangerous to keep hurricane shutters up for too long. While the ideas are still in the planning stage, it’s looking like the original plans that were stricter but could now be more flexible.

Storm shutters are on homes throughout Cape Coral, even though there’s no storm coming. Seasonal residents like Kristine Jacobson keep them up. Because when it comes time to prepare, she says it’s impossible to do so from Michigan. “I couldn’t find people to help. I couldn’t even find people to get boards or anything. This was before I had the shutters,” said Jacobson.

“And I’m like this is crazy because there was no wood. No boards,” Jacobson said.

Jacobson was just one of the numerous people that voiced their concerns to city council last week. This was after the council proposed an ordinance about when people can and can’t put up their shutters.

Cape Coral Mayor John Gunter told WINK News he heard the feedback from his community and made changes. Now, the draft ordinance allows shutters to be up during hurricane season.

“We basically had taken a second look at it to see exactly the time period can be installed. And I think now at least that discussion moving forward we’ve addressed that,” Mayor Gunter said.

Florida Building Code fire prevention code and the internal property maintenance code all allow shutters only during the threat of a storm. But of the three codes, now have a clear definition.

“I think that we as a city are looking to do is outline something very similar and to make sure that’s it’s defined in such a way where it’s extremely explicit,” said Gunter.

Jacobson believes that every day of hurricane season there’s a threat. “We’re not going to know on a whim all of a sudden it’s there, you know. Just sometimes you don’t have enough time or notice,” she said.

The proposal does say that shutters aren’t allowed once hurricane season ends unless the city is in the forecast cone. Then, they must be taken down 30 days after the storm hits in the offseason. There isn’t a vote scheduled for Wednesday’s meeting, but WINK news will continue to update you.