THE VILLAGE, Okla. — Storm shelter rules are changing in the Village. City leaders set new guidelines concerning where those shelters can be installed.
This year’s deadly tornado season has led to a huge increase in the sale of storm shelters. Leaders in the village say they’ve seen a big spike in demand.
“We’ve had an increase of two a year to 15 a week now,” said Village city manager Bruce Stone. “People are just looking to protect their families.”
The Village has always allowed storm shelters in backyards but now the city will allow shelters to be built on yards to the side of houses.
Stone says because many homes in The Village have limited access to the backyard, the cost of installing a backyard shelter could be extremely costly.
“Some places it’s impossible to get in back or it raises the cost where its not feasible,” said Bruce Stone.
That’s why the city changed zoning regulations to allow installation of side yard shelters as long as they’re behind a sight proof fence and not visible from the street.
“If it’s gonna provide safety, how do you argue with that,” said resident Tad Smith.
“We have to take baby steps and that’s what they’re doing,” said business owner Greg Smith.
Smith spoke in favor of allowing side yard shelters, but he points out Oklahoma City currently allows front yard shelters. He wishes The Village had done the same.
“A lot of people still will have no option for shelter, with no where else to go,” said Smith.
An idea to allow shelters under front porches got shot down by the city council, but Village leaders say allowing side yard shelters could save lives.
“The idea was to find ways to make it easier and less expensive to put in shelters,” said Stone.