Morrow County to begin address accuracy project

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In Morrow County there are over 17,000 addresses. They span over 13 postal zip codes and cover almost 700 miles of roadway. Addresses in unincorporated parts of Morrow County originate in the southwestern corner of the county and extend both east and north in an ascending manner. Addresses increase approximately 400 numbers every mile. Even numbers on the right hand side for west to east roads and odd numbers on the right hand side for south to north roads.

You might wonder why this information matters to you. It is this orderly system that allows not only a visitor from out of town to find your house or business, but more importantly the local emergency services to find your home. When an address is not in sequence with the surrounding houses this can lead to precious minutes that the sheriff, fire department or ambulance takes to reach you. John Harsch, Morrow County Emergency Management Director, has said, “It is important to have fire and EMS find the proper locations that are consistent within the county”. Your local emergency responders may be familiar with the local address abnormality but when a neighboring first responder is called into your neighborhood, precious minutes could be lost. The addressing project that will start soon aims to correct the majority of these out of sequence addresses.

Addresses were assigned for approximately the last 40 years using over 100, 2ft by 2ft, aerial photos where a sticker was placed at the approximate location of a new address. This process had the inherent possibility that an address could be misaddressed due to continuity of the surrounding panels. To add to this, landowners would also just post an address and start using this number. The county digitized the house numbering system in 2009 to a Geographic Information System (GIS) based database. This has allowed for improved accuracy and error identification. The system identifies when an address is out of sequence with the surrounding addresses and produces an error associated with it. Since its creation address accuracy has been continually improved.

Using the system, it has been identified that there are still approximately 300 addresses that are in need of correction. These addresses range from one out of sequence, to multiple addresses on a road needing changed. Every effort in identifying those that need changed and only changing the smallest number required was taken.

Morrow County understands that some landowners might find the task of changing addresses daunting and also a challenge since they are not actually moving. It is no small inconvenience to change an address. The Morrow County Planning Office is in the process of creating a resources sheet for the affected property owners to include a list of phone numbers and agencies that will need to be contacted. The county will also notify offices or agencies that are applicable to all addresses such as the county auditor and treasurer and update the 911-address database that the phone companies maintain. Updating other agencies or businesses will be the responsibility of the property owner.

Property owners affected will be notified by mail in the coming weeks and finalization of the project will be wrapped up by the end of the year.
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