February 1, 2008

Addressing project moves forward

Lynda James

Approximately 550 residences will be affected by the Park County road renaming project, according to Park County GIS Mapping Director Craig Barraclough.

In an update to Park County's Board of County Commissioners on Jan. 23, Barraclough said he is waiting on data from consultant Spatial Focus revealing how many will be impacted by address renumbering due to current inconsistent numbering.

A Homeland Security grant paid for the analysis of multiple road names and inconsistent address numbering that affect emergency services response times in situations where more than one road has the same name, or address numbering is not consistent.

Approximately 400 roads will be renamed and about half currently do not have any structures. A road with no structures that has a duplicate name as a road with structures will be renamed to reduce the impact to residents.

Barraclough said that meetings held around the county in early January on the need for renaming roads had been sparsely attended due to inclement weather, except in the Bailey area.

Another round of meetings will be held in late February to present new names to the public. A 30-day comment period is also planned. Notices will also be sent out in the next property tax evaluation mailing.

A third meeting may be held after implementation to inform people on who they are responsible for notifying and who the county will notify, such as utility companies.

The commissioners said that if residents had a good valid reason why a name should not be changed, they would listen to that.

Barraclough said he is in the process of getting information from other counties that have completed road renaming to determine what works best to have a smooth transition. He has been in touch with Larimer, Delta, Clear Creek and Douglas counties.

Barraclough outlined comments from the meetings, phone calls and e-mails he has received. He said that one of the most frequently heard comments was that the county started the project two years ago and didn't inform people.

Barraclough presented a chronological list of thirteen articles and county commissioner meetings on the issue. Six county quarterly newsletters addressed the issue from April 2006 to October 2007. During the same time period, two articles were in The Flume, contracts were signed in county commissioner meetings, a presentation was made to the Platte Canyon Chamber of Commerce, and information was posted on the county Web site.

Another frequently heard question was whether residents could choose a new name for their road.

Barraclough said Larimer County had used that method, and its project is now into its sixth year because people could not agree on road names. Park County decided to ask the fire protection districts to choose names to expedite the process.

Those names have been received and duplicates need to be weeded out.

Commissioner Doc McKay asked whether it was necessary to change duplicate names in different parts of the county.

Barraclough gave an example of why they would. If someone called 911 saying they need an ambulance on Aspen and then hung up before dispatch could get more information, then dispatch would need to call out more than one emergency services district because of several roads named Aspen in the county.

Park County Emergency Manager Lori Hodges said some residents objected to the county using tax dollars to complete the project. She said once the project is complete, tax dollars would be saved because only one district would need to be called out to an emergency to the one road.

Barraclough said the county's road and bridge department would fabricate and install new road name signs. The cost would be approximately $25,000 for materials. Labor would be absorbed by the road and bridge department.

Barraclough said the county would look for additional funding for signage from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs.

Commissioner Leni Walker said some subdivisions' homeowners associations had agreed to pay for new signs in their subdivisions.

Another concern of residents expressed at meetings was the time and expense to change all legal documents, including deeds. The commissioners said they were in favor of waiving fees to record new deeds.

One question from residents was whether the project would be phased or completed all at once.

Barraclough said some counties had phased and some hadn't. He was inclined to complete one fire district first, then evaluate what could be done to improve the process for the rest of the county.

Barraclough said maps and new road names will soon be posted on the county Web site, www.parkco.us.

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