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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Commission: County has no authority to stop address changes

  • A few weeks ago, the Leavenworth County Commission asked county staff to review address changes for several residents who live on a short stretch of 170th Street.
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    • Other business

      In other business Thursday, the Leavenworth County Commission:


      • Approved Feb. 3, 2015 as the date for a special election f...

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      Other business

      In other business Thursday, the Leavenworth County Commission:



      • Approved Feb. 3, 2015 as the date for a special election for the possible renewal of a 1-cent countywide sales tax. Commissioners want to use mail ballots for the election.



      • Approved a temporary special use permit for a fireworks stand at 19230 McLouth Road.



      • Approved the waiver of residential building permit fees because of agricultural use. The home will be constructed on Tonganoxie Drive east of 187th Street.

  • A few weeks ago, the Leavenworth County Commission asked county staff to review address changes for several residents who live on a short stretch of 170th Street.
    But, commissioners said Thursday there's not much they can do for residents who don't want to change their addresses.
    "We were mandated by the federal government and the state," Commission Chairman Bob Holland said.
    He said county government could be fined if it doesn't comply with the mandate.
    In March, the county sent letters to more than 400 residents informing them their addresses have to be changed.
    County officials have said the addresses are being changed because they're out of sync with other addresses.
    Jeff Culbertson, director of the county's Geographic Information Systems Department, said the addresses need to be changed because they will no longer be recognized when the next generation for the 911 system is implemented in two years.
    Residents were informed they have up to a year to change their addresses before the U.S. Postal Service starts returning mail with the old addresses to the senders.
    "I think it's pretty much a done deal," Holland said Thursday.
    County Counselor David Van Parys said he reviewed the address change requirements.
    He recalled that from 1990-92 the county replaced an antiquated road system with a grid, resulting in the changing of thousands of addresses.
    "It caused consternation," he said.
    He said these earlier address changes had been discretionary on the part of the commission.
    "This address change is different," he said.
    Van Parys said this time it's being mandated. He said the county is being told which standard to use.
    "You have no discretion as to whether you will do it," he said.
    He said new 911 requirements called for the digitalized remapping of the county.
    "Your GIS Department has remapped the county," he said.
    He said the rationale for the address changes is to make it easier for people who are unfamiliar with the area to locate an address.
    "It is an inconvenience," Van Parys said. "There is no question about that, but we have to do it."
    Van Parys said the county could lose federal and state funds for the 911 system if it doesn't comply with the requirements. He said a civil penalty also could be imposed against the county.
    Holland asked if the commission should vote to approve the new 911 requirements to have a record of the action on file.
    Van Parys said the commission could adopt the National Emergency Number Association system as mandated by law.
    Page 2 of 2 - "This is just another one of those issues where big brother knows better than anyone else," Commissioner Clyde Graeber complained.
    Commissioner Dennis Bixby said he doesn't like the situation, "but I think we need to be in compliance."
    County resident Sidonio Ramos said he needs more than a year to make the proper change of address notifications. He said Culbertson had indicated he would check with the U.S. Postal Service to see if the one-year period could be extended to three years.
    Culbertson said he had spoken with an official about the 12-month transition period.
    "They can't adjust the 12-month period," he said.
    County resident Jennifer Loechler said she wants to know who has the authority to override the address changes. Loechler is not one of the residents on 170th Street, but her address is being changed.
    Graeber said she would have to contact someone at the state level.
    "And I'm not eve sure if they can do anything," he said.
    Commissioners unanimously approved a motion to adopt the new street address system.
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