I am continuing to write about the Barbour County Office of Emergency Management and their efforts to change the addresses in the city of Philippi.
We have in West Virginia rural routes and city addresses. Rural routes have a route number and a box number. The routes are large and if a property has been subdivided there may be many homes with the same box number. If you have a rural route address and are unable to speak into the telephone after calling 911 it may be difficult to locate you. The 911 Reference Board was created to remedy this problem.
Every property that has a rural route address is to be assigned a house number and a street name. Many cities have small percentages of rural route addresses because of annexing and the use of land that was previously undeveloped until lately. Although they are within the city, they will also be given a street name and house number. The law as written is very good and is a much-needed tool for our emergency services to locate our citizens outside the city limits.
The incorporated cities have had streets with a name and houses with a number for years. If a citizen should call 911 and is unable to speak their telephone number, address, etc., is on their screen to be sent to the responding emergency services personal.
The city of Philippi has changed a few streets, i.e. Walnut Street and Walnut Avenue and Maple Street and Walnut Avenue, to comply with the new law. The house numbers are in order with the odd on one side of the street and the even on the other. The house numbers are graduated in twos. It is a system that is used in every incorporated city in the world.
The system that is proposed by the OEM will be using yards between driveways to determine an address. My address may be 104 with my next door neighbor being 154. This is unnecessary because we cannot split city lots by law. Each lot has an existing address whether a structure is there or not.
The OEM also wants to switch the odd, even side of the streets. Their system is based on the presence of 500 houses on each side of the street with-in a mile. The proposed system may be practical on the rural routes but Philippi does not have 500 houses within a mile on any street. We may have 25 homes in a mile. Remember we cannot split a city lot.
To me, it makes no sense in asking the population of an entire city to change their addresses because of the interpretation of a state law by one or a very few persons.
The city council of Philippi needs only to inform the Offices of Emergency Management that the city desires to opt out. Our addresses will be the same and it's over.