MOORE — Three city ordinances that would require storm shelters to be built in some new structures and alter building codes to better promote tornado safety have been tabled by the Moore City Council pending further discussion.
Mayor Glenn Lewis said the ideas will likely move forward, but more input is needed from the public and from homebuilders. The items had been on the agenda for Monday's council meeting.
“We thought it might be a little too early to pass them,” Lewis said. “We want to bring more people in from the community and we didn't want to impose hardships on those currently rebuilding their homes who may be short on insurance money.”
The ordinances would:
Require construction of storm shelters for all new single-family dwellings.
Require construction of storm shelters for all two-family residential, multifamily residential, manufactured residential, group residential and school buildings.
Add bolting and fasteners for the purpose of strengthening newly constructed homes in tornado-prone areas.
The new ordinances would apply only to new structures. Lewis said the proposed ordinance pertaining to schools will likely be eliminated because the city's school system has already decided to build shelters.
“We know the schools are onboard as far as doing that and it is something the public wants that will probably be included in future bond proposals,” Lewis said.
The mayor said a committee will be formed to get input from residents, homebuilders and other communities. Lewis said he hopes to speak with officials in Joplin, Mo., as part of the committee's work.
There are about 6,000 tornado shelters at businesses and private homes in Moore.
City Manager Stephen Eddy said the ordinances could be voted on in 30 to 45 days, but no timetable has been set.
Moore Home Builders Association President Pete Jackson said storm shelters have become popular amenities in new homes. One client requested hurricane straps be added. Hurricane straps better secure a roof to the home itself and are designed to keep roofs from coming off in high winds, such as those seen in lower-intensity tornadoes.
“We're seeing a lot more requests for the shelters,” Jackson said. “I can't think of anyone who hasn't put in a shelter in any of the new homes we've built recently. Most opt for an in-ground shelter in their garage rather than a safe room.”
Jackson said exploring new ways to promote safety is worthwhile, given the frequency of tornadoes in Moore and the surrounding areas.
“The city of Moore has always been eager to work with homebuilders,” he said. “Anytime they've passed something new they always see input before passing it.”
Lewis said the goal of any new ordinance would be to promote safety but limit hardship on home and business owners.
“We want to be the safest city in the country but we also don't want to force government down people's throats,” Lewis said. “There is a balance that we can find.”