SWFL is less than two weeks away from the beginning of hurricane season, and will once again be keeping a close eye on the Atlantic for storms like Hurricane Irma.
In the days leading up to a storm, neighbors rush to hardware stores to buy plywood, hoping to protect their homes. But now parts of Charlotte County want to impose rules on temporary shutters.
For homeowners like Bob (who did not want his last name used), he knows he’ll likely be putting his shutters back up soon.
Though he calls it a hassle, he says it’s better than leaving them up year-round like some of his neighbors did after Hurricane Irma last year.
“I realize that people are probably gone north and they want the house protected and they don’t have anybody to put them up while they’re gone, but if you got a hunk of plywood up there and you’re going north, you know, I think that’s not fair to your neighbors really,” he said.
Homeowners in Charlotte County say it’s not uncommon to see boarded-up windows of every kind year-round. They say it’s bringing down their neighborhood.
“It tends to make the neighborhood look a little dingy,” said neighbor Barry Yemma.
“It gives the impression it’s kind of boarded up or even unoccupied sometimes when the fact is just simply the shutters have been left up,” added homeowner David Dettor.
Piles of plywood remain stacked against some homes.
Commissioners are looking to change that by passing an ordinance that will force homeowners to take down plywood, aluminum or any other temporary or makeshift hurricane shutters 30 days after hurricane season ends.
And neighbors say it’s about time.
“It’s probably long overdue to tell you the truth. I think that’s a good idea because unfortunately there’s some people that pretty much put them up on the first day of hurricane season and let them ride,” Dettor said.
The county says you can use whatever you need to to protect your home, but if you don’t have a permit, the protection will have to come down by the time hurricane season ends.
If you fail to comply, it could lead to a code enforcement violation and a potential fine.