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Changes made to shutter ordinance, but still no decision

Two councilmen now against the proposal after changes
Hurricane storm shutters partially closed
Posted at 5:12 AM, Apr 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-13 20:52:44-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — At a work session Wednesday morning, Cape Coral council members made alterations to an ordinance that would limit the length of time citizens can have storm shutters over their windows - but no decision was put in place.

With less than two months until hurricane season begins, firefighters urged the city to make a final decision.

As it originally read, the ordinance would allow shutters to be engaged up to five days in advance of impact by an incoming tropical system.

Amendments to the ordinance include waivers for residents using shutters as a temporary replacement for a broken window, citing recent supply chain issues leading to a shortage of construction materials.

Shutters would also be allowed to remain up for up to 30 days after the five-day "forecast cone."

Several citizens appeared Wednesday to voice their dissent of the ordinance, and some of the council members even expressed their disapproval.

Councilmembers Keith Long and Dan Sheppard withdrew their approval; Long expressed he was no longer on board with the changes implemented.

Other council members intimated they were still on the fence with the ordinance as a whole, prompting Mayor John Gunter to table the topic.

Similar policies have already gone into effect in other cities like Bonita Springs, Miami, and Palm Beach.

Fire officials say shutters make it extremely difficult for first responders to enter a building in an emergency.

Steve Powers with Allin's Blinds Verticals and Hurricane Shutters says that if these new rules are passed, it will present a problem for some of his customers — snowbirds who aren't here for hurricane season.

"I've sold all these people shutters and most of them are snowbirds and they live up north," said Powers, "and they want to be able to keep their home safe when they're not here. This ordinance is going to prevent that."