It appears the city of Elkins is trying to reach the great compromise for the new 911 mapping and addressing system. When City Council voted unanimously last week against adopting the county's mapping plan, it instead agreed to form a committee to come up with recommendations for some address changes.
The city and the county have been around the block on the issue more than a couple of times, and there's good reason for that. The history behind it brought up surprises that many would have never expected.
Back in 2008 when the county hired Landmark Forestry to create the addressing system, the city was on board. The firm began its work giving names to back roads that previously were known only by route numbers for mail carriers. When it came to the city limits, it was learned that nearly every address number would have to change to fall in line with the system. Expense and confusion were two of the main reasons the city gave for backing out just a year later.
Last year and again this year, the county approached the city asking for a commitment. The city stood its ground both times - and why shouldn't it? The complications associated with changing thousands of addresses for residents and businesses are almost inconceivable.
However, it appears that some addresses within the city don't follow a sequential numbering plan. It seems it would be difficult to find these places unless you literally had them memorized. The fallout of emergency personnel not being able to find an address is something we don't even want to fathom.
So along come the compromise, the committee and a 45-day deadline for coming forth with some ideas.
On all accounts, the city has to do something. There has to be some standard and easy-to-follow system for emergency responders. The addresses with mismatched numbers need to have a proper street location assigned. Beyond that, the committee may discover other concerns.
The city then needs to take a good look at what's feasible and what provides the best plan for safety.