Morgan residents face address changes

Jan 13 2013 - 10:55pm

MORGAN -- Some city street names and therefore addresses will have to change.

"It's a sticky situation: People don't like to change their addresses," said Jeff Ward, a Geographic Information System mapping specialist with Small Town GIS.

The Morgan City Council plans to set up a residents' committee, draft an ordinance about the street names, then schedule a public hearing about the changes.

There are two streets named 100 North, Ward said. Another street has houses with a 700 East address on one side and 600 East on the other.

Other candidates for name changes are 125 North, 250 East, 600 East, 700 East and 300 North.

"State Street needs to be State Street all the way through instead of (becoming) 300 North," Ward told the city council.

Ward said he has talked to a few people who live on that road, and some use the State Street address and some use 300 North. Some use both, he said.

State Street changes into 300 North as soon as it crosses the Weber River, Ward said.

A similar situation exists in Morgan County. The state of Utah gave the county $4,509 in October for a Global Information System server to use in forming a master address list.

Ward said he is working closely with David Manning, Morgan County planning and development services GIS specialist, who is in charge of the county's mapping process.

Ward encountered an address problem typical of these challenges when he and his wife bought a home in Morgan city and tried to find the title company. It turned out to be near their new home, but 100 North dead-ended into the high school before picking up elsewhere.

"We eventually found it after driving around randomly," Ward said.

Anyone who has a changed address will need to record that information with the city, utility companies, the post office and other entities that might need to know.

"I tried to get the zoning map put into the system," Ward said. "There were some places that had fuzzy data."

As it is now, emergency responders with the fire department, sheriff's office or ambulance service risk showing up to the wrong address. Ambulance drivers and firefighters do not have laptops in their vehicles, he said. Instead, they rely on the map books in their vehicles and their own knowledge.

"It's really a safety issue," Ward said. "The city has the responsibility for the safety of its citizens."

Morgan city's difficulties are not unique, Ward said. The same thing happens in Provo and Orem, and between Weber County and Roy.

"Each city has its own challenges in terms of addresses," he said. "We do not have a perfect situation, but you try to make it as manageable as you can."

Utah cities and towns are more or less designed to be laid out in a grid, but the roads curve and bend in the mountainous terrain. Old Highway Road in Morgan County is an example of this: When the road bends to the north, the address numbers make a big jump forward and then backward, Ward said.

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