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Union Co. Supervisors 9-4-18: No more unofficial addresses in Union County

Union County Courthouse

New Albany- In the future, rural Union County residents will not be allowed to give names to their driveways and use those names as their addresses.

Until now people could build a house or place a trailer a considerable distance from an officially named county road and then build a driveway, perhaps gravelled, perhaps not, from the county road to their dwelling. They could then give a name to their driveway, as if it were an official road, and use that name as their address for U.S. mail and E911 purposes. That practice will not be allowed in the future.

For example, Rutherford Smopes, could place a double-wide mobile home on his land a quarter-mile from the nearest county road, let’s say CR54321. Then Rutherford could build an unpaved road from CR54321 to his double wide and name it Smopes Road. For purposes of U.S. mail or Emergency 911 addresses, he would be allowed to use “#1 Smopes Road” as his address.

Many such instances now exist in Union County. Smopes Road and others of like origin does not appear on official maps or in GPS data. If fire or other emergency services need to be dispatched to #1 Smopes Road, the address cannot be found. An ambulance crew chases around the countryside trying to find #1 Smopes Road, and old Rutherford expires of a heart attack while the ambulance driver tries to find him.

The Union County Board of Supervisors took action at its Tuesday, Sept. 4, meeting that will stop that practice. In the future, every rural resident will be required to have an address on an official road.

However, Rutherford Smopes will be “grandfathered in” with his Smopes Road address, and Union County will put up new road signs identifying Smopes Road. Perhaps then the county volunteer fire department will be able to arrive before Rutherford loses his home and all his chattels to a fire. Union County Emergency Management Director Curt Clayton estimates the county will have to put up about 200 signs identifying driveways such as “Smopes Road.” Money for the signs, perhaps as much as $75 each, will come from the 911 fee assessed each month on landline telephones.

However, if Rutherford gives his grandson, Bartholomew Smopes 25 acres and Bartholomew puts his double wide on the backside of his gifted land, Bartholomew will have an address of perhaps 666 CR54321. There’ll be no Bart Smopes Road.

In  other business Tuesday morning, the Union County supervisors approved a contract for a new bridge number 88 on CR 128. The amount of the contract is $154,900. Work is to start on Monday, Sept. 17th, and is to be completed within 60 working days.

The supervisors also conducted routine business such as approving the minutes of August board meetings, paying the bills and approving the road department work schedule for September.

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