At last Tuesday’s City Council meeting, council members approved a plan to rename a Kilgore residential roadway.
Carol Windham, Director of Planning, described Ordinance No. 1740, a proposal to rename Birdsong Court and Birdsong Street to Birdsong Lane.
Windham said the proposal was a response to a property owner requesting an address for a vacant lot on the roadway.
“The planning department deals with addressing every day, whether it’s changing addresses, whether it’s assigning new addresses,” Windham said.
“Every now and then, we run into some major issues with addressing. One of them happens to be somebody came in and actually requested an address on a vacant lot and we did not have an address to give them.”
The problem was complicated because Birsdong Court and Birdsong Lane are one roadway – from Stone Road to Lockhaven Drive, it’s called Birdsong Street. After that, the name changes to Birdsong Court.
Adding a new address would change the numbering for addresses down most of the road.
“To make room, we need to assign an address. What we decided to do was go ahead and change both Birdsong Street and Birdsong Court to Birdsong Lane,” Windham said.
She added the numbered addresses on Birdsong Court will not change. While the entire roadway will become Birdsong Lane, only numbered addresses on what is now Birdsong Street will change.
Windham said, once the measure is approved and moves forward, all property owners who will be affected will be notified and will be given 30 days to change the numbers on their mailboxes and houses and update their address with utility companies.
The city will handle the address changes for other entities.
“We change everything for 911, we change everything in the water billing, the appraisal district, the post office,” Windham said.
“They are responsible for changing the utilities but we do provide them with a letter to give to the utility company. That’s an official letter from the city.”
Homeowners may also have to update their addresses for things like credit card statements.
Making the change will make it easier for emergency responders to find the right address.
“This will give us the ability to actually assign the new address for this vacant lot that we have and, of course, it will be great for public safety, because the numbers will be right and there will be one street.”
City Manager Josh Selleck said the problem of duplicate or confusing addresses was widespread throughout Kilgore and the city will be tackling the issue in the near future.
“I do want to talk about the bigger picture here. This is one of hundreds of address changes that you’re going to be seeing in the next few years,” Selleck said.
The problem is serious enough to affect response times of emergency responders.
“I’ve asked staff not to bring them all at once but we have so many issues with addressing where the same street name exists in three different spots in town. If you’re having a heart attack on one of those streets, you hope that they pick the right one to go to.”
Windham said the city ‘s addressing problems also caused issues when people attempt to use navigation apps on their smartphones, such as Google Maps.