ASPEN - Hundreds of homeowners in Pitkin County must tolerate the inconvenience of getting new addresses as a trade-off for allegedly being easier to find for emergency-service responders, county government officials have decided.
County staff will solicit volunteers to get the project started. The volunteers will be used to perfect the process. Once an implementation plan is in place, it could take about three years to correct all the addresses identified as being troublesome.
"I don't think we can take the whole bite all at once," County Manager Jon Peacock told the county commissioners at a recent meeting.
The problem houses are located along private driveways. Many of those houses have addresses but aren't named or numbered in a logical way, said Cindy Houben, director of the county Community Development Department.
In some cases, addresses don't follow a sequential pattern. The proper sequence got out of whack as development of lots occurred years apart. In other cases, the private driveways need a name that won't be confused with other roads.
County staff has identified about 150 driveways as accessing three or more "addressable structures," according to a staff memo to the commissioners. That suggests there are at least 450 houses and other structures that need new addresses, County Commissioner Steve Child said. He said a good example of the problem is near his house on Capitol Creek Road in rural Pitkin County. Three houses accessed by a driveway have Capitol Creek Road addresses although something like Nicholson Creek Road would be more appropriate since they aren't actually on Capitol Creek Road, he said.
Commissioner Michael Owsley said he would volunteer his driveway with three houses in the Woody Creek area for the address-correction project. The current, informal name doesn't quite cut it, he said.
"I renamed my driveway after myself. I'm very happy about that," Owsley quipped.
The Communications Department and Community Development are drafting a letter that will be sent to homeowners who need alterations to their addresses.
"Hopefully people will understand the safety concerns," County Commissioner George Newman said.
The county has established a Web page to explain the need for the addressing corrections. It can be found at www.pitkinaddressing.org.