To Shutter or Not to Shutter? That is the Question for Some Home Owners

Hurricane shutters installed on a house A community in Florida is considering allowing neighbors to keep hurricane shutters on their windows all hurricane season long. Image:

There’s a hot debate brewing over hurricane shutters. It boils down to curb appeal vs. home protection. Both sides have valid points. What’s yours?

Protect your property from occasional killer storms? Or protect your property values during balmy weather?

These are the questions Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., neighbors are debating as their city council mulls an ordinance to allow part-time residents to keep hurricane shutters on their homes throughout the hurricane season, rather than take them on and off every time a big blow threatens the town.

The council says it needs more time to consider the pros and cons of permanent shutters for semi-permanent residents: Some neighbors think they’re eyesores — the shutters, not the snowbirds.

First, our friends in Palm Beach Gardens should know that not all hurricane shutters are created equal aesthetically. Colonial-type shutters can add flare and curb appeal to a home’s exterior. And roll-up shutters virtually disappear between storms.

On the flip side, shutter panels can make a house look boarded up and abandoned during the hurricane season — June 1 through Nov. 30 — before many Palm Beach Gardens snowbirds fly down for winter from their homes up north. But paying someone to put up and take down those panels throughout the hurricane season is expensive — sometimes $1,200 each time — and adds to a home’s wear and tear.

So the debate continues, apparently indefinitely, because the council hasn’t set a date to revisit the matter.

How would you vote if you were a council member?