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Council adopts address ordinance

September 12, 1997

By DON AINES

Staff Writer, Martinsburg

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The city council Thursday night adopted an ordinance for assigning street names and addresses while preserving all the layers of a four-tier appeal process that ends with the council.

"I think the residents of Martinsburg have the right to come directly to the council" with their appeals, Mayor Earnest Sparks remarked prior to the unanimous vote of council.

Councilman Glenville Twigg said maintaining the four-step process would probably solve most of the objections before they reached the council.

"I don't know if you want to be deluged by the number of complaints" that could result from the address conversion, Berkeley County Director of 911 Mary Kakcley told the council.

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The city ordinance is virtually the same as one adopted by the Berkeley County Commission during the summer with one important exception - the council will have the final word.

The address conversion project in the county will change almost every address outside of Martinsburg, eliminate redundant or similar-sounding road and street names and give names to any unnamed roads with more than three houses on them.

In the city limits there are fewer streets that will have to be renamed, but there is also some haphazard and nonsequential numbering. If anyone objects to the new name or address their house or business receives, the appeal process begins with Kackley.

Those who are still not satisfied can take their complaint to the 911 advisory board, which will be made up of police, fire and ambulance representatives, along with the Office of Emergency Services and postal authorities. People who are still dissatisfied can take the issue to the city planning commission.

In the end, it would be the city council that gives thumbs up or down on a renaming a street, upholding or denying an appeal.

Kackley told the council the county's field verification survey is about 40 percent complete and should be done by the middle of next month. The survey plots out the location of every house, business, church, pay phone and some geographic features that will be included in the enhanced 911 system's computers.

After that is completed, consultants will begin what she called "address management" - assigning new addresses on paper. Once new addresses are assigned, many residents are likely to object as familiar road names disappear and street numbers are changed.

That is when the appeals process could begin in earnest.

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