Visible addresses needed for all county structures


There are newer subdivisions in Dubois County that do not have addresses clearly marked on the homes, which has those who need to know which house is which concerned.

Huntingburg Postmaster Brandon Brosmer said not having the address on a building makes it more challenging for postal service and delivery workers to deliver packages to the right house.

“We have brand new subdivisions and cul-de-sacs that the mailboxes are out on the road, and they will have the numbers on them,” he said Tuesday. “But there may be 10 houses in a cul-de-sac or subdivision, and none of the houses are labeled with its address. So when a carrier goes down to deliver a package that does not fit in the mailbox, it’s like eeny, meeny, miny, moe.”

He is also concerned that it could potentially be a problem for emergency personnel who are quickly looking for a house in an emergency. He has heard of a fatal situation in which EMTs went to the wrong house first because the homes did not have addresses on them.

“This goes beyond delivery,” Brosmer said. “A minute can make a life-saving change.”

While most people use GPS to find a building, “there are areas where GPS may not work,” he said. “It would really help if they put their number on their houses.”

Brosmer asked the Dubois County Commissioners to encourage the public to do so, and they agreed.

“There are some areas where you have 10 mailboxes at the end of the lane,” but no address on the actual home, Commissioner Nick Hostetter said Monday at the commissioners’ meeting. “An ambulance could go down the lane and there are five homes with no address on the home. That doesn’t do much good.”

Even Commissioner Chad Blessinger said he can — and will — do a better job of having his home address clearly visible.

Dubois County’s original 911 addressing ordinance was passed in 1989 to require visible addresses for structures. This went into effect prior to the enhanced 911 system starting in the county in 1991.

The ordinance was amended in 2000 to require that numbers be more visible for emergency vehicles. Among those changes:

• Address numbers must be at least 3 inches tall, which was taller than the 2-inch requirement in the original ordinance.

• If a structure is 75 feet or closer to a county-controlled road, the address must be in front of the house/structure and clearly visible from the road

• If a structure is more than 75 feet from the road, the address must be affixed to some structure near the road and clearly visible from both sides of the structure that face the road.

• If a structure is on a private road that comes off of the county road, the address must be on a structure along the county road that leads to the private road.

Those not in compliance can be notified and given 10 days to comply. If they don’t, they can be charged a $100 fine, as well as the costs incurred to enforce the ordinance, such as court costs.

The county’s ordinance applies only to residents of roads that are controlled by the county. Incorporated cities and towns have their own addressing ordinances.

The majority of homes and buildings are clearly marked, Brosmer said. Carriers have noticed some of the newer subdivisions and clusters of homes do not have the addresses clearly marked on or in front of each house.

A postal carrier will learn the area and the houses on his or her regular route. “But when we have substitute carriers,” Brosmer said, “they don’t know which house is which. We could have missed deliveries.”

In the cases in which a carrier doesn’t know for sure which house gets the package, “we’d rather they leave a note in the person’s mailbox and bring the package back here,” he said. “Some people do get upset when they have to come pick up their package. But we’d rather do that than take it to the wrong house and worry about theft.”

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