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New system in place to change addresses in Oktibbeha County

March 2, 2011

By STEVEN NALLEY
citybeat@bellsouth.net

New addresses are coming to Oktibbeha county residents outside the city of Starkville.
The Golden Triangle Planning and Development District, contracted by the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors, is nearing completion on a $150,000 re-addressing project two years in the making. These changes will enhance 911 emergency response by updating the county’s Master Street Address Guide with geographic information system-based data.
Toby Sanford, GIS manager with GTPDD, said these changes would not affect the city of Starkville, because the city had opted out of the project. He said the changes were often sorely needed, because some address numbers would appear miles away from where they should logically appear. Some addresses, he said, were even duplicated.
“One of the biggest problems was the Sturgis-Maben Road,” Sanford said. “There was one case where you could have multiple homes with the same address on different ends of the road, and they were 20 miles apart.”
County administrator Don Posey said the reason addresses had been misplaced was because the county’s previous addressing efforts in the ‘90s had only assigned addresses to buildings that existed at the time, and new properties in the spaces in-between would receive incorrect addresses. For instance, he said, two buildings on one side of a street with an empty lot between them could have been addressed “1020” and “1022.” The empty lot, when developed, would then receive the address “1024” and become inconsistent with the numerical order.
This time, Posey said, there will be an address for every 5.28 feet of road and a thousand addresses for every mile, including addresses ready and waiting for sites not yet developed.
“So there will never be a mess-up again as far as a house not being in sequence,” Posey said.
Posey said the board would notify residents of their address changes soon by sending postcards in the mail. He said these postcards would feature a new address, the old one, a picture of the building, and a request for the resident to confirm the information’s validity.
He said the changes do not become official until residents have been notified.
“You can’t push it all the way through until everyone in the county is aware of it,” he said.
However, Posey said the board had not yet determined exactly when these postcards would be mailed. He also said the board was still working on naming approximately 130 roads as part of the project.
“Any road in the county that’s had three or more dwellings, we’ve given each one of those roads a name,” Posey said. “The board has to approve that name before it goes on the map. The board took it upon themselves to go out and discuss it with the people on the road. It took something like six months.”
Posey said the reason for the road naming arose from the larger reason for the project as a whole: Unclear and misplaced addresses are slowing down 911 emergency response. For example, he said, homes on these newly named roads often only list their name on a mailboxes grouped at the road’s entrance.
“And emergency people are standing out there trying to figure out which house to go to,” Posey said.
Posey also said the GTPDD had used GPS software to survey the locations of buildings, ensuring that their locations are accurate in the county’s GIS-integrated Master Street Address Guide.
“When they overlaid the old maps over the new map, some things would be 40 to 50 feet off,” Posey said.
Sanford said the MSAG’s GIS integration made it more than a simple database of names, addresses, and other information.
“It links that information to any information you want to keep up with,” Sanford said. “For instance if the county wanted to keep track of people who need oxygen, you could put that in and track it. You can not only map houses, but you can keep up with the inventory of bridges, road signs, fire hydrants and electric lines. It just depends on how far people wanted to take it.”

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