County may help with address change

July 31, 1997


Staff Writer, Martinsburg

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The Berkeley County Commission on Wednesday did not rule out helping residents of private developments and subdivisions pay for changing street signs when the county begins an address conversion project.

About 60 people attended Wednesday's public meeting on the project, which will change almost every address in the county. While several spoke about the cost and inconvenience of changing addresses, about as many spoke up in favor of the plan.

The commissioners are expected to vote on the address conversion ordinance at their regularly scheduled meeting this morning.

"We have worked as hard as we know how to move this fast-growing community into the 21st century," Commissioner Jim Smith said at the beginning of Wednesday's meeting. He conceded, however, that the process will be painful.


Field teams from MSAG Data Consultants of Orange, Va., arrived Tuesday to begin mapping every building in the county, according to 911 Director Mary Kackley. She said the project should be done early next year.

"These so-called private subdivisions provide a large part of the tax base of this county," Richard Augustine of the Deerwood development told the commission. He said they should be assisted in replacing street signs.

"It's a legitimate concern. I'm not sure we can afford to do that, but we'll take it under advisement," Smith told him.

Chris Loizos of the Three Run Woods development near Bunker Hill suggested the county make a deal with a sign maker to discount signs for developments.

Kackley said one idea is to put the sign contract for the entire county up for bids, and allow developments to buy signs at the same cost as the county.

Dennis Miller, also from Deerwood, said an intersection street sign meeting state codes costs about $75. The pole and installation would be extra.

Hundreds of road names could change, officials said. Kackley said there are 27 roads with the name "Apple," and that once the conversion is completed, only one road will begin with that word.

All duplicate or similar names will change.

Unnamed roads will be given names and addresses, officials said. Changing numbers on buildings or mailboxes will be the responsibility of the home or business owner.

Kackley said historical significance, population and other factors will be considered in the process of renaming roads. Residents will have a say in naming their streets and there will be an appeals process through the 911 Advisory Board and the county commission.

The renaming project will ease the way to improvements to the county's 911 system, Kackley said. The entire 911 upgrade will cost $3.6 million and will take five years, she said. The address conversion will cost $200,000.

Martinsburg will be keep much of its existing city address system, except for duplicates and haphazard numbering. Kackley said Hedgesville has not signed on yet because it is awaiting the consultant's final analysis for the project.

The conversion will give an address to every 5.28 feet of street frontage, assuring no street will run out of addresses, officials said.

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