City of Kissimmee: Take boards off windows or face fines

Businesses on Dakin Avenue in downtown Kissimmee boarded windows to prepare for Hurricane Dorian. They have since been removed.

The city on Monday began cracking down on homes with windows still boarded up from Hurricane Dorian.

The storm swirled off the eastern coast of Florida in September as it weakened and moved northward from the Bahamas, where it wrecked havoc on Grand Bahamas and Abaco islands.

Osceola County didn’t experience any inclement weather as a result of Dorian, although schools and government offices were closed as the storm – at its height a Category 5 – made it way toward the Sunshine State.

Boarding up windows, whether in a house, an apartment or a commercial property, is one of the most important steps people can take to get ready for a hurricane. And while local officials warned residents to prepare ahead of the storm, some of them haven’t quite unprepared.

Kissimmee residents are allowed to board up windows once the National Weather Service has issued a hurricane or severe weather advisory but must remove the board within seven days after the event has passed.

However, although it’s been a month since the storm, there are enough homes still boarded up to warrant city action, said city spokeswoman Melissa Zayas-Moreno.

Code enforcement is now issuing warnings and giving property owners five days to remove any boards they may still have on their homes.

“It’s a safety concern and that’s why people need to remove their shutters or boards,” Zayas-Moreno said.

“We have a growing community of people from different areas and we want them to be informed about the city’s codes and regulations,” she said.

Those who don’t heed Code Enforcement could be required to appear before the city of Kissimmee Special Magistrate, resulting in possible daily fines of $150 for each day the property remains in violation.

So, for those still enjoying the cave-like effect provided by boarded up windows, take them off and let there be light.