City Council wants last word on street changes

August 18, 1997


Staff Writer, Martinsburg

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - When Martinsburg decides to participate in Berkeley County's enhanced 911 project, the City Council wants to make sure it has the last word on any street or address changes in the city, council members said last week.

The County Commission recently approved an ordinance giving 911 Director Mary Kackley the authority to change street and road names and assign addresses. The 911 upgrade will change virtually every address in the county.

The city, however, expects to retain most of its existing addresses, although there are some duplicate or similar-sounding streets that could be renamed. Some out of sequence street numbering could also be changed.


On Thursday, the City Council discussed its own ordinance for naming streets and changing addresses modeled on the county ordinance. A final reading of the ordinance is scheduled for next month's meeting.

Earl Wills, a resident of Berkeley Place, told the council that the street names in his neighborhood are more than 90 years old and that police, fire and ambulance personnel know the difference between Sycamore Street and Sycamore Lane. He also said people would be forced to change their driver's licenses even though they might be several years from expiration.

But there was recognition among council members that changes would have to be made.

"We have four or five Park streets, and we'll have to do something about it," said Councilman Glenville Twigg.

"I'd appreciate it if you leave them as they are," Wills said of the street names.

"It's my understanding the council would make the decision about changing the names," Mayor Earnest Sparks told Wills.

"Many of us are under the impression there won't be many changes in the city," said Councilman Donald T. Anderson.

The council directed the city attorney to include in the draft of the ordinance a provision giving the council the final decision on naming streets and assigning addresses.

In another matter, the council approved a $171,000 upgrade of the police department and a $21,000 consulting contract to study computerization of the city's other offices.

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